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April 10, 2012 Published in Letters/Opinions

Open Letter To Superintendent Of Schools: Dr. Mort Sherman

By: Scott Gordon

Dear Dr. Sherman,

In response to your letter addressed to Alexandria’s Public and to the employees of Alexandria City Public Schools, I ask this question: Why do you continue to put a Public Relations style “spin” on the fatal underlying problems facing ACPS? And why can you not, in as few words as possible, accept full responsibility for these failures and do as every accountable leader in the past has done, exit.

You state in your letter that

“Rather than focusing only on the division’s deficits, we established the mentality of being transparent, turning the page, looking ahead, and building on the wonderful things that have gone on in ACPS for a very long time.”

Dr. Sherman, just in case you have failed to keep up to date on the media’s coverage of your office, not only does the general public see your actions as anything but transparent, but it’s clear you, and therefore we, have been unable to ‘look ahead’ as we are still suffering the slings and arrows of your blatant system-wide mismanagement.

Sure, certain programs and initiatives within ACPS have been successful, we have seen improvement in varying statistics as they pertain to Alexandria’s student body, but we thank our front line employees for this, we thank our hard working Teachers and Teacher’s Aids. Because much of the city-wide educational successes can be attributed to our hard working and generally underpaid teaching staff, and because even you readily admit your failures as Superintendent, allow me to make a proposition –

Because you earn more than the Governor of Virginia and the Vice President of the United States, because you have a car allowance and office decoration allowance, and because Teachers in general tend to be paid less than they deserve (along the same cost/benefit lines as our hero First responders), why don’t you entirely forego your salary for FY13 or until a thorough audit of your offices failings can be established. The sum total of the money we will have saved can then be repaid to the CIP, of which you have essentially destroyed, or split among our City’s teachers as nothing more than a “thank you”.

Superintendent Sherman, your letter to ACPS Staff and the General Public makes it very clear, as it was assumingly written by you, that you do in fact accept full responsibility for the three or so years of failure and mismanagement rampant throughout ACPS. There cannot be a ‘look ahead’ or the ‘turning of a page’ without radical change.

The author Robert Collier once said, “In every adversity there lays the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” You have made clear to those of us who watch and listen the changes that must be made so as to move forward and protect the sanctity of our schools. In a strange way, you, with your resignation, will have allowed the system you claim to love, to be stronger and wiser.

Be wise Superintendent Sherman, the Public, The Government, and your very own Teachers are calling for you to leave, listen to the people.


Scott Gordon
Alexandria, VA Resident

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