“Do You Wanna Dance?”
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 21st January 2017

January 31, 2016 3:07 pm ET

As “3D-Day” approaches, I have one question for BCPS board members––Do you feel lucky?

Source: “Do You Wanna Dance?”

Before I begin my latest installment on what I am calling “3D-Day” (decision for Dr. Dance day), I must first set the tone and wear two hats, or whatever I could find left over from my cop days, regarding this very serious decision by BCPS board members.

So, with that in mind, I turned to one of the great themes of law and order (cue the “Dragnet” theme) and the notes I will use. These notes are foreboding and suggest that those board members who will cast their votes should think long and hard before checking the box that I believe contains a cookie jar in the mix of this debacle.

And to show the folks that I’m not hiding anything, here is a look at said notes.

Now, along with those notes, I also brought in the U.S. Marines. Well, at least one Marine who give us and board members a different perspective. That perspective is certainly different than what politicians Julian Jones and Tom Quirk had during their testimony. And here is the key word used by others who also sang the praises of Dr. Dance and his “laptops for everyone” concept.

The key word I’m referring to is the term administrators.

In all of my years working for Baltimore County as a police officer, I saw my fair share of politics and brown-nosing.

I always like to use hard evidence, and video is one example of such evidence. The first video shows four people giving lip service to board members. The first such “service provider” is Councilman Julian Jones.

For those who don’t remember Councilman Jones, he was the pol who left behind his constituents in the Woodlawn Foot Bridge incident. He even joked about it to me when I had the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions.

Folks, from my perspective, Councilman Jones has mastered the art of “double speak.”

When watching the video, you will see Councilman Jones’ over-the-top praise of this $275 million program at the beginning, followed by Councilman Tom Quirk.

I love the way Councilman Jones speaks for those are aren’t present. Apparently he missed the issue of safety regarding the school children who have to use the dangerous streets to get to school instead of a foot bridge that the councilman can’t get replaced.

As far as Councilman Quirk’s testimony goes, it’s the same old rhetoric, so you can turn the volume down.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. Mr. Joseph Pulvino’s testimony starts at 10:23 of the video.

Both Mr. Pulvino and Logan View Principal Stephen Bender are what I call “bureaucrats.” At one point, Principal Bender turns around and introduces more administrators, all of whom did the “clap clap, rah rah, sis boom bah” routine on que.

It was almost Pavlovian.

The one common thread from both BCPS employees (or cheerleaders) is the how safe the schools are. To that issue, I counter with the U.S. Marines—or, more precisely, one Marine Reservist who has 15 years of experience with 5 of those years in the BCPS system.

That Marine wrote me this letter:

“Accountability is the very first vocabulary word I teach my students upon entry to my classroom. I think the ability to teach accountability for one’s actions is vital to in building a more solid partnership with teachers, students, and parents. After all teachers, students, and parents should be working together for the same goal, a higher level of education for all. Some of the challenges I have overheard in my interactions around the county of tests being taught and re-taught culminating in embarrassingly low scores, while severe chronic behavior issue students are being forced back to class after no substantial consequence or future deterrent. This all goes back to the topic of accountability; teachers are accountable to students, administrators, parents, test scores and hours of new data tracking. It feels as though no one is accountable to teachers.”

Before I get too far ahead, let’s go back to the two administrators who bragged about school safety, Mr. Pulvino and Mr. Bender.

I stopped them as they were leaving and noticed that they were laughing. I thought that was strange, so I took out my pen and pad and asked them for a brief interview.

Their smiles suddenly disappeared as they made a bee-line for the exit door, explaining that they were “late for an important date,” as the saying goes. I thought that it was rather odd that, after all that praise, they did not seem to have the time or inclination to proclaim more of Dr. Dance’s greatness, especially when it came to making the schools safe.

After watching the four cheerleaders from Baltimore County, watch the comments from parents Ms. Gail Diggs and Ms. Stacy Mathews.

Who would you believe?

It becomes even clearer after speaking with the Marine, who told me about seeing a teacher throw up in the parking lot before the start of school, or the mother I interviewed who walked the halls hearing echoes of a constant chorus of F-bombs with nobody challenging the conduct.

Or how about this blog I did some time ago about violence in the BCPS system? The problems even transcend to the beleaguered school buses.

Want more evidence of what’s at stake in the $275 million cookie jar? Here’s another article of interest on the SUPESscandal. Or, to localize the information, here is information right from the horse’s mouth.

Speaking of horses, they can pack a wallop of a kick, just like this little note from Dr. Dance to Barbara Byrd-Bennett six days after after Barbara Byrd-Bennett assumed the role of Chicago Public School’s CEO and 47 days before Dr. Dance recommended the $875,000 SUPES Academy contract to BCPS.

My final analysis is that, if you’re a BCPS board member, you might want to delay your vote just in case you mark the wrong box. Simply put, that vote will follow you around like an albatross around your neck.

I strongly advise the school board to err on the side of caution, especially when there’s $275 million at stake with no clear data supporting that the STAT program works.

There is plenty of hoopla, but no concrete evidence.

One may ask, if it was so successful, why would this prominent magazine reveal the program does not work?

3D-Day is Tuesday, 2/2/16, and we shall see if reason prevails.

I leave this blog with one final question to the board members:

Do you feel lucky?”

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