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Who is making money off BCPS students?

A new op-ed in The Baltimore Sun questions the “edtech takeover” of Baltimore County Public Schools:

“The March 23 [State of the Schools] party — which featured salmon filet and red velvet cake and showcased students’ dance ensembles — was an elaborate affair. Recent SOS events have cost more than $100,000, according to The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools’ federal 990 tax forms.

That’s a lot of red velvet.

The scene is also emblematic of an apparent edtech takeover of the county’s public school system, which is pursuing a laptop-per-student (1:1) initiative with projected “total costs” approaching $285 million in the first seven years alone, including related infrastructure “to support STAT” (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), various documents show.” Read the full piece here.

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7 Comments on "Who is making money off BCPS students?"

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Joanne C. Simpson

One answer has been partially provided by BCPS officials… Who paid for five school staffers and leaders, including Superintendent Dallas Dance and technology head Ryan Imbriale, to attend the April 18 ASU GSV edtech investors summit in San Diego, Cal.?

In response to the converted PIA request, school officials wrote: “Conference fees, hotel, and flight costs were provided by the ASU GSV Summit for each of the school system participants.” The school system will reimburse per diem costs for meals and other “related expenses” through participant’s operating budgets. Officials noted those records will be made available for inspection when processed.

The overall cost of the trip was not disclosed. But I’m sure some stakeholders can do the math….

Joanne C. Simpson

And yes, in case you were wondering, the Helsinki ‘institute’ is indeed a Microsoft-run event. And Microsoft products are central to the STAT laptop-per-student program… Conflict, anyone?

From the company: “Microsoft is pleased to launch the “Leading Countries of the World in Education Transformation” program.”

Joanne C. Simpson

Heading to Helsinki

BCPS Superintendent S. Dallas Dance is about to hit the road again. Or at least the airways. In a May 4 letter to Baltimore County’s Board of Education, Dance announced a likely promotion within the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), from a position on the superintendents’ association executive committee to president-elect. “I have been asked and agree to seek the office of President-elect of AASA, which would become effective in 2017,” Dr. Dance wrote.

Dr. Dance says the new position would entail the same “time commitment” as his role on the board. President-elect, however, is clearly a higher role.

The superintendent also informed the board that as the administrator of a “Microsoft Leading School District” he is one of four representatives in the U.S. to be invited to attend a summer institute in Helsinki, Finland from May 24-26. There he will collaborate and share ideas regarding a “global initiative” titled “Leading Countries of the World in Transforming Education.”

This does seem to be an honor, as Dr. Dance notes.

Yet student learning outcomes of the STAT digital initiative are still unclear, with PARCC scores in tested third grades with the laptop-per-student program trending downward. As of now, it also remains unclear who is paying for the over-the-pond travel expenses. The letter notes that this is a four-year program. A round-trip flight between BWI and Helsinki around the event’s dates this May average over $2,000.


Our children use Microsoft products as part of the STAT initiative. The same company is providing recognition, an exciting honor, and a trip. This is a conflict of interest.


It doesn’t matter who is paying for it, unless these are vacation days and out of his own pocket. Either way – them, or bcps, it doesn’t help children in BCPS, and it creates a conflict of interest.