This is a Letter to the Editor I wrote to the Philadelphia Inquirer--it appeared in June. Surprisingly enough, Dr. Ackerman never responded!
As a Philadelphia Public School teacher, I am very disheartened by some of the opinions about her teaching staff that Dr. Ackerman has voiced lately. While all of us are not perfect, I daresay a huge percentage of us do our utmost to teach our students well everyday. We do this work because we are called to do it, and we believe that we make at least a small difference in the lives of our city's children everyday. We do this work in crumbling, leaky, rodent, insect, and mold infested buildings. We do this work with some children who haven't slept or eaten or been cared for in any significant way by the people who are supposed to raise them. Most of us take classes outside of the school day to better our instruction and learn new ways to help our students. We love our students and care for them in a way that many, many parents and students appreciate. If Dr. Ackerman thinks that we are doing such a poor job, I challenge her to run a series of "Master Classes" for teachers starting in September. Walk into a school in the morning with a lesson prepared (pick a different grade each week) and walk into a random classroom to teach the class. Rules: no calling the principal ahead of time, no culling the difficult students from the class, come without an entourage--just pick a class and show us your magic. The district could make a podcast so all teachers can learn from it. Perhaps you could teach us something, Dr. Ackerman.