Students in Philadelphia's public schools need not bother slogging through Kant. School system employees are less lucky. Arlene Ackerman, the city's new superintendent, has already made clear that she intends to break with her predecessor's approach to management. She reinforced the uniqueness of her methods this week when she announced plans, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "to require all central office staff to take ethics training." Said Ackerman, channeling Joseph Conrad: "I've seen some things in adults that I'm a little nervous with." Therefore, to prevent her senior staff from cracking under pressure and founding jungle-based personality cults, Ackerman will require them to take ethics classes, maybe as soon as next month. In time,, every central office employee will enroll in such training. Members of the city's ethics team will lead the sessions--but what's on the syllabus? If Foucault and Bentham ("Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure") are required reading, Philadelphia's schools are in trouble.

"Phila. schools chief wants ethics training for her staff," by Kristen A. Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 3, 2008

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