“Children in the Philadelphia public school system long have been underserved – primarily due to a lack of true academic leadership, someone who understands what it takes to move them into a globally competitive future. Dr. Arlene Ackerman, however, brought a vision and energy that challenged a stagnant paradigm and drafted a roadmap of where our children should go and could be.

“For the past three years, Dr. Ackerman put her head down and went to work. No one is perfect, and if anything, her driving desire to advance our children led to a singular focus – and less time to charming media or placating lawmakers. She was about the kids.

“And her strategies began moving Philadelphia’s children to an equitable education. Let’s be clear: if we use the same objective measurements that have been used to gauge her predecessors, positive academic progress, not regression, is undeniable. The national recognition she has earned for her work did not come by accident or favor; it was based on that same objective, data-driven criteria.

“Dr. Ackerman’s departure, particularly the circumstances surrounding it, will set us back once again, and at a crucial time in the school year. That hurts not just our reputation as a city, but above all, the same children we profess we want to see achieve. We need to prove that to them, by installing and fully supporting stable, credible leadership. Those children, our neighbors, deserve nothing less.”