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Dallas Dance resigns

Dallas Dance

Dallas Dance

S. Dallas Dance resigned today as superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. A spokesman for BCPS told The Baltimore Sun that Dance does not have another job lined up. 

Dance put out a statement today that said in part: 

“The last five years serving as Superintendent of Team BCPS have been the best years of my professional life. As I stated in my latest State of the Schools message, I have led this organization from my heart believing that we could move mountains, and while not literally, we have begun tackling some large complex issues, which will take us time, effort, energy, and commitment to realize its full impact. However, I believe our county and region will be better because of our strategic efforts to provide an equitable educational experience for all of our children. … I now transition to another chapter of my career where I will specifically use my passion for equity and access to a quality education to ensure it is provided to all students through school, district, and community leadership.”

In May, the school board approved another four-year contract for Dance that gave him a base salary of $287,800, plus retirement and health benefits, a car and other compensation. That was a 13-percent increase over the base salary he had of $255,000 annually when he started at BCPS in 2012.

Susan Kleinsasser, a long-time teacher at Rodgers Forge Elementary, said she thought Dance was an excellent leader.

“In five years he has proved himself as one of the most remarkable leaders in education of the 21st century. Put the advancements of this county one to one with any other county. We have revolutionized technological advancements in teacher/parent/student access to tools and resources,” she said. “Communication through these portals is unprecedented. Access to 21st century technology is foremost in this county’s objective. We have set a clear and determined path toward equity and cultural proficiency for all administration, staff and teachers. We use a different technologies to insure that all children, ESOL, IEP, 504, different races, cultures or socio-economic backgrounds meet the same standards as all other students. This is a day that may turn back history or move it forward. I hope that we move forward. All means all.”

The same month that Dance’s contract was renewed, a former BCPS employee filed an ethics complaint against Dance in which he questioned whether the superintendent was spending too much time on speaking engagements. 

Dance was the architect of the STAT program (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), which is giving all BCPS students their own laptops. The program, whose price tag is close to $300 million, was controversial, with many parents and educators worried that interactions with screens was taking away from interactions with teachers and other students. Critics also said there was no evidence that relying so heavily on technology would improve students’ education. 

At the same time, Dance was often recognized by education companies for his embrace of technology. 

In January, he was honored at one of President Trump’s inaugural balls by National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training, a group that promotes the use of technology in schools. 

In September, Dance was on the cover of a magazine published by e.Republic, which focuses on the tech sector. 

“As superintendent of the 25th largest school system in the country, Dance is tasked with managing a $1.76 billion budget and overseeing more than 20,000 employees and 175 schools, centers, programs and tech initiatives.

These initiatives include S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), which is designed to create a 1:1 digital learning environment for all students. S.T.A.T. puts curriculum first, redefines how instruction is delivered, and places a greater emphasis on personalized instruction and critical thinking skills.

And just last year, Microsoft selected BCPS as its sole showcase school system for innovative digital teaching and learning. BCPS was accepted into the League of Innovative Schools and awarded a $1.5 million grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to advance equity and digital learning.” 

Dance’s last day will be June 30 of this year.

-Kristine Henry

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4 Comments on "Dallas Dance resigns"

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Joanne C. Simpson

One success cited by the Baltimore Sun story for Dallas Dance’s tenure at BCPS is increased graduation rates. There are also limits to this data to keep in mind. “Improved” graduation rates are touted in digital-tech school districts as signs of success–essentially part of the implementation script. Yet questions have been raised nationwide.

Rising graduation rates, while welcome, are increasingly the result of online or problematic ‘credit recovery’ courses, oft-considered subpar. Such courses are also pursued at BCPS. For overall info, see this EdWeek article, “Credit Recovery Is A Scam.”

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/walt_gardners_reality_check/2015/05/credit_recovery_is_a_scam.html

Also, even progressive public school leaders analyze additional factors to determine whether students are simply being pushed along: What are results in terms of college and jobs post-graduation? See this NPR story, “School Graduation Rates are Deceiving,” including a quote from Baltimore City Public Schools superintendent Sonja Santelises, and other education experts, who note that schools must follow up on outcomes, such as graduates’ years in college or career results to prove true results.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/01/12/504715055/school-graduation-rates-are-deceiving-here-are-7-things-that-would-help

BCPS Tracker

And those awards were from education technology industry-supported organizations, with many of the sponsors doing tens of millions of dollars of business with Baltimore County Public Schools. The fact that he is resigning with no job raises many many questions.

Stunned.

Wow. However, it’s not clear to me that this school board will make a good choice for his replacement, given their gushing support for him while in office.

Former BCPS teacher

Prayers have been answered. Finally!!! The people of Baltimore County who were silenced have been vindicated! Joy!

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