THE LONG GOODBYE: What’s $400K Spent On Spin When You’re Getting Paid $1 Million To Quit?

Arlene_Ackerman_Ilustration_CROPPED.jpgCITY PAPER: Two knowledgeable sources tell City Paper that former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman ran a School District communications team dedicated to promoting and defending her personally, and which coordinated and assisted public rallies in her favor, communicated regularly with private supporters, and spent taxpayer time and money on various kinds of “propaganda,” including protest signs and a farewell tribute video. Since Ackerman’s departure after negotiating a nearly $1 million buy-out of her contract, one source says the same team continues to manage Ackerman’s antagonistic public relations campaign against Mayor Michael Nutter and others. The three Communications staffers who allegedly orchestrated a personal public relations campaign for Ackerman — former Director Jamilah Fraser, and staffers Shana Kemp and Elizabeth Childs — resigned last Monday, the same day that Ackerman’s buyout was announced. According to one source, the three were told they would be fired if they did not resign because they had gone rogue, spending the majority of their time working for the Superintendent even as she was headed for the door. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: The Hagiography Of Dr. Arlene Ackerman.

RELATED: TWIT STORM: DN And Philadelphia School District Going Mano-A-Mano On Twitter Over Today’s Cover

PREVIOUSLY: QUEEN IS DEAD: Ackerman Paid $1 Million To GTFO

Arlene_Ackerman_Ilustration_CROPPED.jpgRELATED: One part of former superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s buyout agreement that we found particularly fascinating — one of many — is the requirement that the School District tap her on the shoulder every time someone asks for a copy of that agreement. Under the buyout, the School District released the buyout agreement to the media immediately following its ratification last week. But now, the District can only hand it over in response to official Open Records Law requests. Plus, Ackerman and her lawyer must be told who is asking for it. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Do NOT F*ck With Queen Arlene

RELATED: OP-ED: Time For Queen Arlene To Vacate The Throne

PREVIOUSLY: Ex-Inquirer Editor-In-Chief Bill Marimow Debuts New Investigative Reporting Role With Damning Piece On School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman

RELATED: WEASELS IN THE HENHOUSE: Head Of School Reform Bringing Same Old Crony Capitalist Bullshit?

PREVIOUSLY: This is why Philadelphia schools suck so bad, this is why every hard-working couple of child-bearing age have plotted an escape to the suburbs by the third trimester, this is why a quarter of adults in Philly can’t read and almost half of all students don’t graduate, because before they even start kindergarten, before pencil ever touches paper, before chalk ever touches blackboard, every kid knows deep down on some Arlene_Ackerman_Ilustration_CROPPED.jpgsub-verbal level of intuition, the way dogs detect the approach of storms long before their masters do, that it ain’t about them. It’s not about reading and writing and arithmetic, it’s not about learning or enlightenment, it’s not about acquiring skills for survival in the modern adult world, it’s not about teachers or students, it’s about the money, how it gets divided and who gets how much. And, on behalf of the children, fuck you all for that.

RELATED: “No more messiahs, no more reform: There’s a popular notion that somewhere out there is a mythological superintendent who, if we pay enough money and stay out of the way, will fix our schools. These district leaders are an “army of one,” according to Rethinking Schools writer Leigh Dingerson, and they push dramatic reform agendas that too often disregard existing efforts. Philadelphia schools don’t need more drama; this system needs stabilization after a decade of massive charter expansion and turnaround. The next superintendent must build and effectively manage a team-oriented approach that assesses what’s working and that oversees operations, including the difficult task of closing schools.” MORE

[Illustration by EVAN LOPEZ]

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