PIA Answers Go MIA
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 23rd April 2017
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A troubled vision with no transparency

BCPS continues cover-up; fails to respond to PIA over Dance’s involvement in SUPES

The Sun ignored the mess left behind by the controversial and conflicted soon-to-be-former BCPS Superintendent over issues with SUPES.

In addition to the SUPES issue the PIA sought the taxpayer funding of expenses related to BCPS employees staying at luxurious resorts.  Some of the expenses were attributed plumbing maintenance without further details.  The amount of taxpayer funds spent on these out of state luxurious trips were troubling considering the amount spent on issues unrelated to much needed funds for our schools.

Shortly before Dr. Dallas Dance resigned his position as Superintendent of Baltimore County Schools, one of the Post’s contributing writers wrote a scathing review of Dr. Dance’s association with SUPES Academy.

Those who had been following the controversy saw the conviction of former Chicago Public Schools Chief Barbara Byrd Bennett, who now faces a 7.5-year prison term after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud.  The scandal doesn’t end there, as another consultant described as the mastermind has also been sentenced to seven years in prison.

It should be noted that Dr. Dance was found in violation of an ethics conflict regarding his relationship with SUPES.

Now, given all of the above, it amazes me why the Sun never mentioned it in an article on the matter, but rather focused on the following:

“In his five years as Baltimore County schools superintendent, Dallas Dance has been a forceful, energetic — and sometimes controversial — presence in a diverse suburban district known both for its outstanding and struggling schools.”

It is my opinion, based on the Sun’s own reporting, that the ongoing problems engulfing BCPS are of Dance’s own doing. I specifically point out his controversial ethics issues, his attempt to change the diversity of the county schools, his engagement in suspect IT innovations, and his cover up of a multitude of self inflicted and untested programs.

One may ask why I would even go there if not for the Sun’s own reporting on the harsh reality of the diversity issues, which are now inherited problems that will haunt the BCPS for decades to come. For answers on that issue just look to the problems in the EU.

Beyond the fact of complete lack of transparency as in their failure to answer another PIA, Dance’s agenda was rudderless as this Sun quote reveals, “Abby Beytin, president of the county teachers union, said teachers would like “some down time from change upon change upon change.”

Now there is another quote that has been swept under the rug by the media reps at the BCPS over another statement from the Sun’s article that dealt with Dance’s issue of failing to acknowledge a problem that no one wants to address.

Here is the Sun’s quote, “And some parents and teachers spoke of emerging problems, including in classroom discipline, that need to be addressed soon.”

I can tell from experience that goes back to my working days as a police officer when violence in a particular county school went unchecked over a racial issue.  Now I see first hand the videos and texted messages posted by students of planned calls for more disruptive behavior because I make it a habit to stay in touch with various people in the BCPS system.

The failure of  BCPS to answer a PIA concerning our contributing writer’s insightful article on the SUPES issue makes it obvious that the Dance administration does not want to answer some tough questions.

For those interested in reading the PIA filed on behalf of the writer, please click here.

On the political side of the Dance debacle, his often-failed STAT program cost the taxpayers as much as $275 million.

Here are some more inept comments by some clueless county council members interviewed in the Sun article:

“County Council Chairman Tom Quirk said he hopes the next superintendent has the same zest for innovation.”  (Mr. Quirk should have done his homework on other major school districts where this computer concept failed drastically.)

“I think Dallas Dance really tried to push for a lot of innovation and new programs,” the Catonsville Democrat said. “We need to continue that to stay competitive and, if anything, notch it up because we live in a world of competition. … We have to do the best we can.” (Mr. Quirk, check the price and research behind the program before wasting our much needed taxpayer funds.)

Here is an ill-informed statement from County Executive Kevin Kamenentz:

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz hopes the next superintendent brings new ideas for school curriculum and programs. He spoke of Dance’s technology initiative, his addition of Spanish-language instruction in elementary schools, and his establishment of an ‘early college high school’ set to open this fall at Woodlawn, that will allow students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years.”

If the real issue of diversity is explored, English is a “global language,” especially in business, and it is pointless to teach another language until students can understand English.  The testing reveals this fact. Not to mention that there are may other languages aside from Spanish spoken in in the school system.

There is a whole lot more on this subject, but I digress … for now.