In case the name Arlene Ackerman rings no bells with you, she is--well, was--the superintendent of the esteemed Philadelphia school district (and unless you collected a diploma from it, you know that that was sarcasm...and if you actually did, go Google "sarcasm", then come back and finish reading. I understand) before her untimely departure from the position for gross fucking incompetence.
If you're worried that this is one of those depressing stories about some shmuck who loses his job to layoffs and ends up selling spam over the internet to scrape out a meager living, you can rest easy...she was given a large severance package totalling almost $1 million, and being thrown out of your job because you suck gets a little easier when you land in a big pile of money that your employers have laid out for you to cushion your fall.
However, her journey did not start in an unemployment line, waiting patiently for government benefits with the other jobless Americans collecting 6-figure pensions...it started years ago out in San Francisco, where she acted as the superintendent of schools there and soon performed well enough to get a raise right before she fell out of favor and was pushed out, a recurring theme in her illustrious career. The average American would see losing a 6-figure job with no real oversight as a devastating blow to their lives...but not Ackerman.
She was eventually able to scrape together the few hundred thousand dollars she had left to her name and make a risky move across the country to seek new opportunities. This quest led her to the city of Philadelphia, where she was able to parlay her failure as superintendent of San Francisco schools into future failure in a new and unpredictable (if you're trying to make positive predictions) environment.
It was almost no time at all before she settled into her new surroundings, replicating all the successes she had experienced in her career on a much grander scale. Through her oversight, she was able to bring test scores up (as a topic of debate come election time), increase the graduation rate (of GED classes citywide), help students (find menial, unskilled jobs), and generally improving the condition of schools (that compete with Philadelphia's public schools in an effort to attract all the parents, pupils and pockets running from Ackerman's influence as fast as possible).
In time, those who did not see the merit of her contributions began to question her leadership. Her salary was also called into question, as she made over $6,000 per week at one time, (or what I make in 3 FUCKING MONTHS) and someone besides Eagles' coach Andy Reid simply could not be allowed to lead a Philadelphia franchise to weekly losses at that high a price. Of course, she also handled this with her famous tact, insinuating that the backlash against her was not because of her poor job performance or overinflated salary...but because she was a black woman.
Never mind that they would find a way to fire a polka-dotted hermaprhodite for fucking up that badly with chunks of an entire already unstable generation AND collecting large sums of money for the trouble...she claimed that she was being attacked for the color of her skin and the setup of her plumbing. It is likely that she knew the truth as well as any other person who even casually tracked the situation...but she also knew that the "ab homine" argument (it's not because I suck, it's because I'm ____ and that's not fair!) is a long standing American tradition beyond reproach.
Well, almost. Of course, if you've been reading this, you know that Philadelphia was the second major American city to spend years and millions finding out that Ackerman was not the right person for the job of total control over the kid factories, and was eventually coaxed out of her position with many taxpayer dollars (because your employer deciding that they'd rather have you gone than a million dollars is a great resume builder and awesome leverage in these kind of settlements in all walks of life).
However, Ackerman had one last wily trick up her sleeve. Despite making more than the entire staffs of some schools, she somehow found her life too lavish to finance with her own money stolen fair and square, and also likely knew that she would never be offered another superintendent job (because she did such a great job here, everybody knows she can't possibly top it...why bother?) Distraught over the loss of her job and lack of cash storage space for her pension and settlement payments, she apparently decided to commiserate with some other folk who had recently lost their jobs, where she came up with her most brilliant masterstroke yet: to apply for unemployment! (Yes, that unemployment. Yes, today. Yes, really.)
Yes, bold Arlene Ackerman, she of cunning mind and flexible morals, would collect the same (and likely much more) unemployment than a father of 3 who just lost his factory job if she has her way. Truly, this is a woman who knows how to make her own way (straight to hell). Hers is a story of determination, deception, repeated fuck-ups, and constant attempts to squeeze whatever possible from vulnerable parties by any means necessary...a true American tale. Arlene Ackerman, I salute you...with one finger.