BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance ends relationship with consulting firm

TOWSON, Md. - The superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools says he has ended his relationship with a consulting company that has a contract with the school system.

Dallas Dance's salary is more than $200,000 a year. In a news release, he said he worked with the SUPES Academy to train principals in Chicago. He said the arrangement called for him to work for SUPES one Saturday a month earlier this year, an arrangement he has now ended.

Dance has spent the first three months of the school year defending the implementation of Common Core standards.

Earlier this month he held a town hall meeting with teachers, who aired their frustrations. "We're frustrating these children. When you frustrate a person just as you're frustrating us a teachers, what happens? We turn off," said teacher Jerry Wooden during remarks addressed to Dance.

Several experienced teachers say they plan to retire at the end of the school year.

The head of the Baltimore County teachers' union says teachers didn't receive the curriculum plan for teaching Common Core until three or four days before school started.

"And it was disjointed, at best, so they were all over the place trying to figure out what to do, when go so it, spending hours and hours trying to get it together," said Abby Beyton, the president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

Last month, the teachers filed a grievance against the school system after some of them, they say, spent as much as 40 hours a week working on their classroom plans in addition to their time at school.

"They went into this profession so they could do the best for the children, and they feel in many ways they can't because they don't have the tools necessary to do that," Beyton said.

The SUPES Academy also has a contract with the county school system, which Dance approved.

In his news release, Dance wrote:  "While I stand unequivocally behind the fact that nothing is being done wrong, after re-evaluation, I do believe it is in Baltimore County Public Schools' best interest for me to not continue in any capacity with the SUPES Academy."

For the teachers union, it's a distraction from fixing the issues with Common Core.

"For us it's just a distraction," Beyton said. "The school board will take care of that. It's under their purview. Our job is to make sure that our teachers have what they need in their hands to be able to do their work."

There is a school board meeting Tuesday night, at which the board could address issues with Dance in a private session.

Critics, including Baltimore County Del. Pat McDonough, are calling for the board to terminate its contract with SUPES academy in light of Dance's outside job with that firm.

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