Will Phila. Schools plan make the grade?

    By: Bill Hangley

    The Philadelphia School Reform Commission will vote next week on an five-year strategic plan proposed by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. Yesterday, the commission reviewed a final draft that leaves some key questions unanswered.

    The Philadelphia School Reform Commission will vote next week on an five-year strategic plan proposed by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. Yesterday, the commission reviewed a final draft that leaves some key questions unanswered.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090416school.mp3]

    Ackerman’s strategic plan promises more books, more libraries, more counselors, and clear performance targets for every school. But when commissioners asked for details of her strategy to improve the quality of the district’s teachers, Ackerman said that part of the plan depends on her ongoing contract negotiations with the Philadelphia teachers’ union.

    Ackerman: Right now we can’t transfer teachers from one school to another. We can’t transfer them from one grade to another. so to say, it’s the district’s responsibility to improve teacher quality, I think that is unfair to those of us who are working hard, and in negotiations to try to make that happen.

    Ackerman wants to create a system of merit pay for successful instructors. Union officials have voiced some support for that plan, but they also say they’re not ready to abandon the seniority system. The teachers contract expires this summer.

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