The real problem with Dance’s adjunct teaching
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.