It was indeed a bad week for Dr. Ackerman in Philadelphia. The media gave her a grade of C and the School Reform Commission riased a red flag concerning her “Imagine 2014″ proposal. Teachers are not supportive of her and principals are joining the teachers. About the only thing the various parties agree on is that there is a strong feeling of discontent in Philadelphia education circles.
Often the first thing championship teams talk about is their team chemistry. Synergy, or positive team chemistry is required for any organization to move forward, to realize ambitions beyond individual’s own personal capabilities. Whether it is in sports, business, or education, in synergistic organizations everyone is on the same page and operates with same purpose.
The School District of Philadelphia is not a synergistic organization.
While it was made clear this week that teachers in Philadelphia are on average paid about 20% less than their suburban counterparts and have more difficult working environments, it was also announced there is no money for teacher raises as contract negotiations continue. Teachers are also now the object of a communist style plot. The command was given schools will make AYP or else. Principals in schools who do make AYP must write up teachers causing them to lose their jobs, or they (the principal) will be replaced.
This is not the way to build synergy and move organizations forward. Instead it builds mistrust and anger. Reportedly even principals have started to voice rebellion.
Additionally her support by the new members of School Reform Commission (SRC) who were not involved in her selection is now questionable. In the same week where the SRC admitted their original reform model using Educational Management Organizations (EMO) has not been successful, Dr. Ackerman sought to hand over management of 30 schools to Leroy Nunnery. Mr. Nunnery was a competitor of Dr. Ackerman’s for the Philadelphia School District Superintendent position. One has to wonder in light of the SRC’s newly stated position on EMOs, why would Dr. Ackerman seek outside mangement for thirty schools? What can Leroy Nunnery do that she can’t? Teachers and the media have made clear they have questions about Dr. Ackerman’s plans, commitments, and abilities. Members of the SRC are now wondering if the teachers are right.