The real prob­lem with Dance’s ad­junct teach­ing

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Evan Balkan, Tow­son

When Dal­las Dance was hired to be su­per­in­ten­dent of Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools, I had reservations due to his lack of class­room ex­pe­ri­ence, which did not meet the job de­scrip­tion’s min­i­mum re­quire­ments. How­ever, I wished for his success, not least be­cause I have two daugh­ters in the sys­tem. I think by and large Mr. Dance has done a fine job; I am pleased with the ed­u­ca­tion my chil­dren are re­ceiv­ing. I also sup­port his de­ci­sion to retweet a post­elec­tion mes­sage about in­clu­sive­ness and re­spect for di­ver­sity.

I am con­cerned, how­ever, by the re­cent rev­e­la­tion of his work as an ad­junct pro­fes­sor for the Univer­sity of Rich­mond (“Ethics probe finds Dal­las Dance vi­o­la­tion on pay dis­clo­sure,” Nov. 21). If Mr. Dance pos­sesses the en­ergy and abil­ity to meet the de­mands of the su­per­in­ten­dent job as well as teach an on­line course for the univer­sity, more power to him. My con­cern, how­ever, comes in his ex­pla­na­tion that he spends “about four hours on Sun­day af­ter­noons on the teach­ing job.” As the top ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer in the county, Mr. Dance has to know the mes­sage sent by such a pal­try commitment. Four hours a week?

Con­sid­er­ing prepa­ra­tion, in­struc­tion, and grad­ing, most pro­fes­sors I know, my­self in­cluded, spend closer to four hours a day on a course, espe­cially for an on­line course, which is of­ten more labor-in­ten­sive than face-to-face cour­ses. One has to won­der what his stu­dents do the other six days of the week as they wait for Mr. Dance to check in.

I can only hope some­thing is be­ing lost in the re­port­ing. If not, he should be rather em­bar­rassed at the miserly at­ten­tion given to the course, and the Univer­sity of Rich­mond, an oth­er­wise ex­cel­lent in­sti­tu­tion, should be em­bar­rassed for en­abling it. While I sup­port Mr. Dance in his role as su­per­in­ten­dent, I would urge him to give up his job at the univer­sity un­til he can give his stu­dents the at­ten­tion they de­serve, just as we ex­pect of our teach­ers here in Bal­ti­more County.

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