Another Award for Dr. Dance Following Ludicrous JHU Review of STAT
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 4th March 2017
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Photo credit, WBAL TV 11

 

First, I defy anyone to view the JHU report on the STAT Program and tell me–as a taxpayer, parent, teacher, or school board member–to comprehend this ludicrous report.

A report, by the way, that fails to mention anything about evidence that the program is working, i.e. cost, test scores, etc.

“Where’s the beef?” as the classic Wendy’s commercial used to say. And folks, this bun is beef-less at best with an awful lot of cheesy terms that leave one pondering, “What the hell did that lady (from JHU) just say???”

Well, since BCPS is a client, what do you think JHU ‘s spin on this topic would be?

If you doubt this humble correspondent’s opinion, then watch the video for yourself. I’ll hold my questions for later:

 

With that viewed, here are some observations from someone who knows a thing or two about this subject–a BCPS parent–complete with evidence that was lacking in the JHU report.


Link to Johns Hopkins 3 Year-Midyear Presentation/BCPS Committee Meeting.  (Referring to the video above)

Quote to which I was referring: “The results we’re seeing… they’re not statistically significant.” 

 They go on to say at some point that STAT is not hurting achievement.  That is not at all what I have heard from people I know, who have children using STAT.

BCPS is regularly recognized and awarded by organizations with whom BCPS employees are affiliated – and by the organizations that are also sponsored by some of the very vendors that stand to profit from Baltimore County’s purchases of their products and services.

Although there are several, these are just two recent examples as shown below.

This is the latest award/recognition, announced last week.  “BCPS News – Superintendent Dance named 2017 Maryland Outstanding Leader Using Technology”:  http://www.bcps.org/news/articles/article9433.html

The facts:  Last week,  our leadership won yet another award for our technology initiative. The organization that has bestowed this honor – this time – is the Maryland Society for Education Technology (MSET).  MSET is an affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (Dr. Dance is on ISTE’s Board of Directors). MSET, ISTE’s Maryland affiliate,  just named our superintendent the winner of the award.

Here are MSET’s sponsors: http://www.msetonline.org/sponsors-and-exhibitors.html  (Some of them are BCPS vendors)

The next level to win, after this MSET award, is on the national level (ISTE).  As stated, Dr. Dance is on ISTE’s Board of Directors. (Stay tuned for the results of that!!)  https://www.iste.org/about/iste-story/board-of-directors

Here are just some of ISTE’s sponsors:  https://conference.iste.org/2016/expo/sponsor_acknowledgements.php 

Last month, our leadership won a “prestigious national award for improving teaching and learning via technology”.   The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) honored five people during an inaugural Presidential ball in Washington DC.  Dance was among them.   http://www.nctet.org/2017-inaugural-ball-1 

Scroll to the bottom of the link to see NCTET’s sponsors: http://www.nctet.org/2017-inaugural-ball-1   As with the others, many of them are BCPS vendors and/or organizations on which BCPS employees sit as board members or advisers.

Meanwhile, the university that is evaluating STAT, BCPS’s 1:1 Personalized Learning and Competency-Based Education initiative (Johns Hopkins University), finally presented its midyear report last week.  Perhaps this one sentence from that presentation can sum up this entire thing. Read it while keeping in mind that BCPS is spending nearly $260 million on the digital conversion, known as STAT, plus tens of millions in digital curricula—-in the first several years alone. The district predicts spending about $57 million annually, mostly to lease the one-per-student laptops that turn over every four years.

One would think that — given the level of prestige and recognition that BCPS has received from the beginning — that evaluations of the program and student achievement here would be apparent and notable.  They’re not, folks.  They’re lukewarm, at best.  And that is what is bubbling to the top — in public.  We haven’t even gotten to what is happening behind the scenes!

Here it is in one sentence, per one of the JHU evaluators and PhDs:  “The results we’re seeing… they’re not statistically significant.”  THIS, after a third year, rolling out this initiative.

It boggles the mind that statistically insignificant gains in academic achievement has still managed to win multiple awards for an “outstanding leader of technology” and/or a presidential ball celebrating prestigious national status for “improving teaching and learning via technology”.

As I have stated at a few board meetings, BCPS is suffering from a case of marketing and perception vs. reality – and of illusion vs. the truth.  Should I ever go back to speak to the brick wall, I will say that we are now suffering from delusions of grandeur.  BCPS is a great school system which has simply been under attack for the past several years.  We are clearly a victim of an edtech takeover and we are most definitely being used as an example of success — without regard to whether or not that is true.


I say this person knows a thing or two since the person is in the tech world.  Did anyone notice that there were only a few board members present for this “dog and pony show?”

Isn’t that rather strange?

We need to take one more look at this BCPS train wreck as reported in the Sun by the paper’s (in my opinion) best reporter, Liz Bowie, in her article regarding school renovations of county schools: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/k-12/bs-md-co-school-renovations-vote-20170302-story.html

I’ll close with these two quotes:

“The school board vote was originally scheduled for March 23 but was moved up to Tuesday, only a week after bid estimates were released, according to school board member Kathleen Causey. She said she wasn’t given a reason for the change.”

And, from Councilman Wade Kach:  “I think it is throwing good money after bad,” said Baltimore County Councilman Wade Kach, a Republican who represents the area. “We are not going to have a school building that will meet the current or future needs of the students at Dulaney.”

Nothing more needs to be said … except that Dr. Dance needs to find another job!

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