Irreversible Propaganda?

Former Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance, who pled guilty last week to perjury charges, might be gone from the district, but the $300 million and counting education technology experiment he brought to the 112,000-student district is still being pushed aggressively by forces both internal and external.

See this in-depth story today by investigative reporter Ann Costantino in The Baltimore Post: Baltimore County schools’ senior staff organize rally to support “irreversible” laptop program

“Both Dance and Ryan Imbriale, the executive director for the school system’s Department of Innovative Learning, call it “second order change,” and it is a topic about which each spoke in detail to audiences within and outside of the school system.

‘What we spent a lot of time talking to our principals about was not the technology. We spent a lot of time talking to them about the leadership that is required for second order change,’ Dance said. ‘When you do a second order change, we can’t go back to business as usual. This is really letting our guards down creating this culture of innovation and risk-taking and that is what professional development looked like from a leadership perspective,’ he said at a 2016 talk he gave in Boston for the Learning Counsel.”

Perjury charges against Dance were linked to outside “leadership” consulting jobs he failed to report on his financial disclosure statements, totaling at least $147,000. Here is a litany of those moonlighting gigs in another in-depth article by Ann Costantino.

“Second order change” seems an Orwellian catch phrase or calling card for Sovietika-style propaganda. As Imbriale noted in a slide presentation in 2013, before the laptop program known as STAT even began, according to the story: “Once begun, it is impossible to return to what you were doing before.”

If that isn’t a clear enough warning sign:

As The Baltimore Post story notes: Advocates for Baltimore County Public Schools (ABCSchools) have been asking for balanced tech use in schools, not an all-or-nothing approach to laptops or software use.  “ABCSchools made an announcement today about retaliation some teachers are experiencing by Baltimore County schools’ central office staff.  Some teachers have been confronted for speaking out on their observations about the STAT program.”

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