You’ve Got to be Kidding
Submitted by Frank Murphy on September 8, 2011
On September 6, 2011, Kristen Graham, education reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, posted an e-mail that she received from Paul Vallas on her blog at Philly School Files. His email was an attempt to set the record straight regarding his accomplishments during his time as the chief executive officer of the Philadelphia School District.
Through this communication, Vallas was responding to the accusation that the city’s schools were in terrible shape when Arlene Ackerman succeeded him as the District’s leader. You can read Paul Vallas’ email here.
This negative claim against Vallas was made in a video tribute to Arlene Ackerman. In the video, Ackerman is glorified as an extraordinary school reformer who greatly improved the School District of Philadelphia.
This video was first played on the School District’s web site the day that Ackerman accepted a buy out offer from the School Reform Commission. Members of Ackerman’s communication staff produced this film. District officials promptly removed it. A few days later, Ackerman created her own You Tube channel and reposted the video. You can see it here.
As I contemplate the “he said, she said” of our two former superintendents, I am reminded of the movie “King Kong vs. Godzilla”. This film was probably one of the worst movies ever made. It was a cheesy, low budget production: poorly scripted, terribly acted and replete with amateurish special effects.
In some ways, this film is comparable to Vallas and Ackerman, both in their verbal jousts against one another and in how they trample over history while trumpeting their perceived accomplishments in the District.