February 6, 2016 11:08 am ET
Board votes 10-2 to extend superintendent’s tenure, but at what price?
Before the BCPS board meeting on 2/13/16, I had written numerous blogs on Dr. Dallas Dance that included a ton of information I figured even a fifth grader might understand.
And if you think I’m blowing smoke, read this letter published in the Sun on the topic: Dance should rethink technology.
I had posted so many credible links that I thought I might be considered a “linkaholic.” Upon further reflection, I thought there just might be enough board members that could read and comprehend the momentous decision in the hope that they might want to take some additional time, or at least make an attempt to review what was about to take place.
After all, we are only talking about the health, safety, and future education of our school children.
Boy was I fooled.
The vote was a slam dunk, and there wasn’t a hint of thought regarding the decision.
The Sun’s Liz Bowie said, “With no discussion or comment, a divided BCPS board decided Tuesday to reappoint its superintendent, Dallas Dance, to a second four-year term.”
It boggles the mind, folks.
Although I had heard rumors about the vote, I had hoped some cooler heads might prevail. Instead, what I saw was a common practice in Baltimore—another rubber stamped vote.
I sat in disbelief over a mindless, clueless, out-of-touch board that even voted down a request by the newest addition to the board, Ms. Ann Miller, who asked in a motion to allow some members of the audience to testify prior to the robotic chimes of “yer darn tootin’” when the board voted by a 10 to 2 margin for another four years of the “same old song and Dance.”
The only two board members to oppose the nod to Dance were Ann Miller and Kathleen Causey, who happens to have 25 years of experience in the information technology field. One would think that this lady might know a thing or two about the issue, but silence was the golden rule.
Recently, I had the chance to speak to one of the school principals regarding the STAT issue and the practice of locking up the current smaller computers after class.
I thought to myself, “This is a bit odd. If they have to lock up the smaller computers, then why in the heck would you trust a student to take a $1,300 laptop to take home?”
A little crazy, I think.
More evidence of Dance stepping on the feet of his partners (the puns continue intentionally) is the fact that his STEP program got off to a rocky start in the middle schools, according to Ms. Bowie. You can bet it will be full steam ahead, and I am willing to wager that the concept of giving a child a free $1,300 laptop will flop just the way it did in other jurisdictions.
We already know the STAT program does not work, as other major school districts found out the hard way before they yanked the ill-conceived program.
I will digress for a moment and show you the indictment of the SUPES leadership, and make sure you read page 14. I wonder how many board members read this before voting for a man involved as a member of the SUPES team.
But, in our county, there is an overwhelming feeling of “who cares.” The chorus of “ayes” came faster than a speeding bullet.
My guess is that anyone with authority in the county has been anointed in some way—the board members, council members, and anyone else charged with the responsibility of overseeing their conduct must have a prerequisite of being brain dead.
I spoke to an insider (and Dance supporter) after the meeting and asked him if he heard about the SUPES issue. He said he did, and the board had vetted that issue. However, when I asked if he knew of the plea deals the members of SUPES were making, he was clueless.
So much for the vetting process, folks.
In fact, if you listen closely enough, you can hear the wind whistling through the ears of certain educational figures.
Unfortunately, we cannot pull the plug on the board members who seem to be under the spell of the Dance rhythms.
(I’m on a “punny roll,” it seems.)
What was even sadder was the testimony of the parents, as well as a student who spoke about the deplorable conditions at Lansdowne High School.
I heard, between the parents and the student, about poor air ventilation, a sinking foundation, a broken heating system, leaking pipes, flooding, brown drinking water, non-ADA compliance, and asbestos in the school, just to mention a few problems.
But, fear not. The good Dr. Dance is spending $270 million for free laptops for all those children drinking the brown water in an asbestos-laden environment.
Oh, I almost forgot about the praise Dr. Dance received for introducing Spanish into fourth and fifth grades in a handful of schools. That is just great, but what about the children who can’t read or write ENGLISH now, and what about the other languages spoken in our country? If we are going to learn another language, I would think the leading economies of the world should have their languages taught in the schools.
After all, they will probably own us in a few years.
Did I also mention that, in order to be proficient in another language, your language skills have to be used on a regular basis, and some experts dismiss the need?
But I doubt that the language lessons will go away, folks. After all, if Dr. Dance says it is necessary, I know 10 board members who will agree with him … regardless of the facts.