ARLENE Ackerman will not go away. In Act Two of her Marie Antoinette act, Ackerman was not satisfied with the nearly $1 million golden-parachute buyout that she extracted from the Philadelphia School District. As a final insult, she has attempted to shake down the taxpayers for pin money: $573 in weekly unemployment compensation.
This shameless, chintzy move does not surprise me, nor does the fact that the School Reform Commission won't oppose it, or even that defenders of the great educator, like Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, will try to stifle debate on this.
Of course, I have history with the Ackerman immune system. Earlier this year, in a previous column, I advanced the notion that Ackerman was a mediocre, transitory figure and that we should jump at the chance to get Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., public-schools head, who was then recently deposed. This set off Kenny Gamble and A. Bruce Crawley to hammer me in a column, reminding me that Ackerman was the holder of the Council of the Great City Schools Richard R. Green Award as the nation's leader in urban education. They told me that she was committed to Philadelphia until the "job is complete."
I guess that not only the buyout and unemployment checks should go to her, but that we should erect a float in the Mummers New Year's Day parade with a giant sign saying, "Mission Accomplished." By the way, I should be immune from any criticism for this column because I'm the proud winner of the "Golden Tonsils Award for Bloviating Talk Hosts."