New Philadelphia schools CEO Arlene Ackerman is making an impression right away; the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
More than 200 Philadelphia School District staffers received layoff notices this week, a move the new schools chief hopes will begin to de-centralize the district and move resources into classrooms.
The employees were all academic coaches, mostly veteran educators who supported teachers in a variety of roles, from technology to mentoring new teachers.
In short, she's quickly asserting control over a behemoth bureaucracy, much like Michelle Rhee is in D.C.
The Philly union leader suggests it's for show: "This is the kind of thing that happens each time a superintendent takes over." I might be so cynical myself, except we know that such central-office "coaches" are often poorly managed and, unbeknownst to them or anyone else, can help cause huge funding inequities between schools. Marguerite Roza has studied this phenomenon; in an anonymous city where four psychologists float among 10 schools, one "says she spends most of her time at a school where the principal ???values her work,'" and another "spends the largest portion of her days at the school her own child attends." As a result, some schools are shortchanged--and often those with the neediest students.
Ackerman might have such a problem in Philly: "When I asked what these coaches do, people would sort of shrug their shoulders and say, 'Well, I don't know.'"
But what's most encouraging to me is that it's "a move the...