Inquirer Editorial: Ackerman teaching kids from the wrong book

Good morning, class.

I'm going to continue our grammar lesson by introducing you to a new adjective. As a review, who can tell me what an adjective is?

That's right, Linda, adjectives are words used to describe nouns, and we all know nouns can be people, places, or things.

Today's adjective is "vindictive." Who can use it in a sentence?

What was that, Lamar? Let me repeat it to the class: "A vindictive Arlene Ackerman also charged the School District for unemployment compensation."

Very good, Lamar!

 

OK, that's a made-up classroom conversation. But you have to admit little Lamar got it right when he called Philadelphia's former schools superintendent vindictive.

How else do you describe a person who would literally take money from schoolchildren to stick it to the adults who fired her?

It's not that Ackerman, who was unwillingly dismissed from her job, does not have a right to file for unemployment benefits. But after the School District gave her a $905,000 settlement to leave peaceably, she can't argue that she would be destitute.

Besides, how could she file for unemployment knowing that because the district is self-insured against such claims, any benefits paid to her would have to come out of the financially strapped school system's budget?

This from a person who professes to care about schoolchildren.

Ackerman may be angry that she didn't get to finish her reformation of city schools, but her attempt to bleed the district with pin pricks hurts the wrong people. Indeed, three of the four School Reform Commission members who fired her have since resigned.

Ackerman's vindictiveness isn't the lesson she should want to leave with students. She's setting a bad example for children.

Speaking of poor examples, how about the School District's chief financial officer, Michael Masch, saying he didn't know he owed the city more than $8,000 in delinquent property taxes, liens, interest, penalties, and fees?

Masch paid the bill Monday after being contacted about it by the Daily News. It's a poor excuse for someone who was once the state's chief financial officer to plead that paying the household bills is his wife's job.

Children, today's lesson from Mr. Masch is: Pay attention!