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Ackerman supporters protest McGeehan

Supporters of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman protest outside the office of a Northeast Philadelphia state rep who called for her ouster. "I don't know Mr. McGeehan, but I just think that everybody needs to be working together," one said.

Ackerman supporters protest McGeehan

J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, speaks out in support of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman during press conference outside Philadelphi. school district headquarters Apr. 14, 2011. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )
J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, speaks out in support of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman during press conference outside Philadelphi. school district headquarters Apr. 14, 2011. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )

Yesterday, state Rep. Michael McGeehan (D., Phila.) stood outside Philadelphia School District headquarters and called on Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to resign. (See the story, http://www.philly.com/philly/education/119900274.html) Then 100 Ackerman supporters (including some district employees) struck back, holding their own rally outside headquarters staunchly defending Ackerman and denouncing McGeehan.  Several speakers suggested McGeehan's qualms with the superintendent were racial. 

This morning, about 25 parents are protesting McGeehan outside his Frankford Avenue headquarters in the Northeast.

Parent Sylvia Simms of North Philadelphia helped organize the event. "Because personally, I think Dr. Ackerman is doing a good job.  Things can always be better, of course, but what do you expect in two years?  Test scores have been going up.  There are some good schools in the School District of Philadelphia."  Simms heads up Parent Power, a group of folks who are passionate about getting parents involved in the district.  The members of Parent Power have often stood up for Ackerman.

Simms estimated 25 people were outside McGeehan's office.

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"I don't know Mr. McGeehan, but I just think that everybody needs to be working together," Simms said.  "If we have the best interests of the children of Philadelphia at heart, we need to work together to succeed."

State Rep. Jewell Williams, NAACP honcho J. Whyatt Mondesire, and some others suggested people opposed Ackerman because she's African American.  Simms isn't sure.  "The thing is, there's always going to be prejudice that exists in the United States.  I believe that if it was a Caucasian man, there wouldn't be this treatment.  I just think that people think they can bully a woman - not just a black woman, any woman."

McGeehan, as I reported today, says that Ackerman repeatedly makes missteps and is damaging the district and its children.  He's written to Gov. Corbett to call for her removal.

About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on Philly.com.

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.


Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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