To read the Daily Pilot’s recap of last Tuesday’s school board meeting, one would think that the big news was the approval of a feasibility study about lighting fields – something they should have done years ago. Many years ago.

Those of us in attendance, including the superintendent and the school board club, know differently. Last Tuesday, a parade of people strode to the podium to attempt to put the final nails in the Swun Math coffin. Some sound bites:

“Teachers are not the problem. The curriculum is the problem.”

(To Superintendent Frederick Navarro) “[Swun Math] is part of your legacy. It is a failed legacy at this time.”

“Swun Math has been problematic.”

“A sad, sad, situation.”

“[This is] the worst math program I have ever seen.”

(Student) “There must be another math program that doesn’t require extensive adult help.”

“Take a bold step. Show leadership. This isn’t working and it’s time to try something else.”

Prefacing and following these public comments, taxpayers heard the usual educrat gobbledygook – phrases that sound official but mean nothing. These included:

“We are moving in that direction”

“We are identifying targets”

“Drill down”

I’m not sure what I’d give to have these people understand what it feels like to sit in the audience and hear this nonsense, which really amounts to a bunch of stall tactics. The coalition that is complaining about Swun Math has been complaining about it for a long time. The only reason they showed up in numbers last Tuesday is because they’re tired of being spoon fed these delays and expected to take it. These comments and tactics are an insult to the intelligence of the people who pay all of the bills and salaries of the district.

Unbelievably, they are actually going to conduct a survey to get to the bottom of Swun Math – you know that drill: The district makes what appears to be an earnest attempt to get input from the appropriate parties, then uses the responses to blah, blah, blah. Well, I have news for the superintendent and the school board club: Your survey results were sitting in front of you on Tuesday night.

The coalition has teed up Go Math to replace Swun as early as January. But the bureaucrats don’t like to admit failure and the certainly don’t like to be told what to do, so a new math program in four months doesn’t have much of a chance of developing. Oh, it would happen if the school board club directed the superintendent to do it – they are his bosses, after all – but they don’t want to rock the boat. This school board club – all of them – lack the will to make a serious challenge to any existing program.

So, while all this wheel-spinning goes on, teachers, students, and parents suffer with a math program they believe is faulty and which may be harming the ability of students to understand key basic math concepts.

The one question I keep asking myself is, “Where are the Swun Math people?” I mean, if this program has merit, shouldn’t the district ask someone from Swun to make a presentation to preserve it? Shouldn’t the Swun people have offered to do this without being asked?

Oh, yeah, there was this display before the meeting:

Dump Truck

I guess the Daily Pilot got there too late to photograph it. Or maybe they thought that the field lighting survey was a more dramatic topic.

After the Swun Math debate, the bureaucrats had to deal with yet another brewing scandal: An 80′ high net that is going up around the Estancia baseball field to help protect the new solar panels in the parking lot behind the diamond. Nearby homeowners on Joann St. are upset for three reasons:

  1. Someone should have thought about placing the solar panels so close to the diamond before construction began.
  2. The netting will reduce their property values.
  3. Most important – they weren’t informed prior to the start of the installation process. (What!? No survey?!) One homeowner said that if this situation were taking place in Newport Beach, the bureaucrats would have alerted everyone prior to starting.

I couldn’t take much after this so I left.

A couple of other notes: Kirk Bauermeister was the only bureaucrat present who had the decency to show respect to taxpayers by wearing business attire. Thank you for that.

There were three references to resist shouting out comments because “This is not a [Costa Mesa] city council meeting.”

Steve Smith