District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman had a series of meetings with newspaper editorial boards earlier this summer focusing on issues surrounding the ongoing teachers' contract talks. The Notebook had an hour-long interview with her on July 8, in which she made clear her desire for nothing less than a radical transformation of the teachers' contract – a wholesale change in how teachers are paid and assigned to schools.
Ackerman fielded questions from Paul Socolar, Notebook editor; Wendy Harris, managing editor; Dale Mezzacappa, contributing editor; and interns Rose Howse and Anders Hulleberg. Here are excerpts from the discussion.
Notebook: What were you hoping to accomplish by going to newspaper editorial boards and explaining your goals for the teachers' contract negotiations?
Ackerman: I wanted to give them a big picture, if not the details, of our proposals that we either have put on the table or will put on the table. I wanted them to have some examples of why these things needed to be changed.
At a special meeting on July 8, the School Reform Commission unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the District to sign a consent agreement bringing an end to a long-standing lawsuit on racial inequity. The case dates back October, 1970, when the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission filed a complaint that the Philadelphia School District was "unlawfully segregated by race."
The agreement uses Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Imagine 2014 strategic plan as a framework for continuing steps to address racial inequities in the District. The PHRC will retain the ability to go back to court if the agreement’s goals and objectives are not met.
Thu. July 30 - Sun. Aug. 2. 6th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival. Music, films, spoken word, theatre, dance, visual arts, children’s events, and open mic at nine venues throughout Philadelphia. For full schedule visit, http://bwafphilly.homestead.com/2009.html.