Follow the Money
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 22nd January 2017
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October 26, 2016 5:07 pm ET

More and more deep throats are stepping forward to reveal some questionable situations at BCPS

Source: Follow the Money

Photo credit/WBAL TV 11

From the movie screenplay, All the President’s Men:

DEEP THROAT

Follow the money. Always follow the

money.

WOODWARD

To where?

There’s a method to my madness, as the saying goes. Let me explain.

The other day I posted a column written by Joanne Simpson regarding BCPS. Her credentials are impressive:

Joanne C. Simpson is a former staff writer for The Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Johns Hopkins Magazine. She is a BCPS parent, college educator, and freelance.

I did this for several reasons. First, there is a groundswell of discontent produced by the evidence that Dr. Dance’s programs, using our tax dollars, are not working. To that end, there seems to be growing concern over some serious ethical issues surrounding Dr. Dance, including the current issue that seems to come from somewhere near the Land of Oz.

The other reason I posted the column is because I did not want to give the impression that I was piling on my previous comments about Dr. Dance. As you can see by the comments that follow Ms. Simpson’s article, many concerned parents are proactive in demanding that their tax dollars be spent on programs that actually work.

In this column, I will take a look at some more serious issues that, in my humble opinion, demand answers from those who are responsible for such matters.

Shortly, I will also address the issue involving the Attorney General of MD, which is not only about the BCPS.

With that said, let’s get started.

I’m going to introduce you to a gentleman who Dr. Dance referred to as his personal hero, with the added statement that this person was among others who were “enormous influences.”

The person’s name is Mark Edwards.

Remember as we go along a take a look at where our tax dollars are going.

Who is Mark Edwards, and how is his association with Dr. Dance so important, especially when it comes to our tax dollars?

Let’s take a look.

For starters, Apple made the largest sale ever to the Henrico County School system located in Culperton, CA while Dr. Mark Edwards was superintendent. The sale provided 23,000 computers to every middle and high school student, as well as the teachers.

Nice commission on that sale, don’t you think?

Then, in 2004, Dr. Edwards left the Henrico superintendent post to become the dean of the College of Education at the University of North Alabama.

However, a “blast from the past” reared its ugly head, as the Apple deal led to controversy when it was learned that students were watching porn on their devices, among other issues.

This is where Dr. Edwards move into the private sector gets a little sticky.

The headline on this article reads Dr. Mark Edwards to Join Discovery Education as Senior VP of Digital Learning.

Meanwhile, a different headline from the BCPS website gives us a big dot in a series of dots that lead to a ton of money.

Let’s take it slowly—one step at a time.

Look at the headline from BCPS:

BCPS partners with Discovery Education to support system digital conversion. BCPS even referrers to Discovery Channel as “our vendor.”

That is what I call cozy, all wrapped up in a…?

Well, the truth is, I’m not sure what that’s wrapped up in, but the wrapping stinks to high heaven.

If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find this little ditty on the Discovery website:

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/who-we-are/leadership.cfm

And there we find none other than Dr. Dance’s “personal hero,” Dr. Mark Edwards.

I’m shocked!

Not really, but it sounded good.

Here is something that both shocks and concerns me—in 2001, Dr. Dance worked under Dr. Dr. Edwards at the Henrico school system.

As I said in the headline of this column, follow the money!

I’m not a critic, but I do like to read reviews of things that interest me—movies, headlines, politics, government, and such. So, with that in mind, I thought I would check out Discovery Communications and see how it fares in the court of public opinion.

Since I don’t trust the “lamestream media,” we’ll use an array of former employee reviews, which are rather direct and to the point:

Very poor organizational structure that is extremely top heavy with VPs. The VPs that are brought on-board, 99% of the time come from outside the company, hired to secure a contract with a particular school district or a family friend of the senior leadership. A common con at Discovery is cronyism and it’s not even disguised on the education side. There is no career path. They are very blatant about this fact, almost prideful. Their form of career path is, do something great and great things happen. Then they hire a family friend or someone from the outside. Merit has no place on the education side. The extremely few that get promoted are not promoted based on performance. In fact, they may be one of the poorest performers, yet advance because of cronyism. Those that actually perform, close multi-millions in deals, are consistently overlooked and under-appreciated. Discovery Education has one of the worst compensation packages in the industry, yet they expect you to work more days and spend more time on the road then any industry. You will be expected to spend at a bare minimum 100 days on the road.

Rather scathing, wouldn’t you say? Did you notice the words I bolded?

I wonder what the names of those performers are. I would guess that, based on the deal with BCPS, one might include the name Dr. Mike Edwards.

We’ll get to the dollars and cents in a moment. For now, let’s talk about propaganda.

Look at Liz Bowie’s article in the Sun on the less than stellar report on the PARCC Scores and the slide of BCPS. Here are some interesting quotes from the article:

Baltimore County’s middle schools did not rank as high as its elementary and high schools. Russell Brown, the county’s testing chief, said he believes this could be partly because the rankings do not take into account high-performing middle school students who took the geometry exam usually given in high school.

And:

Maryland education officials have been disappointed by achievement statewide on the new tests, which replaced the Maryland School Assessments two years ago. In most grades, fewer than half of students are passing the exams, the state’s results have shown.

When asked about the slide, here is what Dr. Dance had to say:

“Consequently, any use of PARCC scores to compare schools or Lighthouse schools with non-Lighthouse schools are meaningless as well.”

Well, what would you say if you just spent $270 million of taxpayer money on a program that has failed everywhere else with a price tag that will continue to rise?

Now comes the coup-de-grace—the money, and where it went.

First, let me reveal the amount (hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen): $10,000,000!

That ain’t chump change, though we are the chumps who keep supplying that money.

Guess who got the contract? It’s Dr. Dance’s “personal hero,” Dr. David Marks, VP of Discovery Channel.

Now guess who’s picking up the tab? WE ARE!

Is that a coincidence or what (said facetiously)???

These words came from the BCPS ethics website:

VI. Prestige of Office.

A. A school system official may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public position for private gain of that official or the private gain of another.

(private gain of another and Dance’s prestige of office. I have 9 documents depicting their relationship.)

VII. Disclosure of Confidential Information

A. Other than in the discharge of official duties, a school system official may not disclose or use confidential information that the official acquired by reason of the official’s position and that is not available to the public for the economic benefit of the official or the economic benefit of another person.

(Blogger’s note: How did Edwards become aware of the need or reason to engage Dance over this?)

VIII. Procurement

A. An individual or person that employs an individual who assists the Board or school system in the drafting of specifications, an invitation for bids, or a request for proposals for a procurement may not submit a bid or proposal for POLICY 8363 4 that procurement or assist or represent another person, directly or indirectly, who is submitting a bid or proposal for the procurement.

(Blogger’s note: Did Dance assist Edwards in any way? Ten million dollars is a lot of money, and the specifics of those contracts were not done via helter-skelter.)

Did anyone take a look at their relationship before the contracts were signed?

I am guessing not.

Finally, remember that column on the deaf science para educator that was fired after 20 years of faithful service? I wonder if anyone in the Dr. Dance or Dr. Edwards inner circle is having cold cereal for dinner tonight.

Again, I am guessing not.

Follow the money, folks. That is if you can stand the stink of politics and collusion surrounding the pile of taxpayer cash.

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