Erica and Jeff Roberts did not authorize Swun Math in our schools. Erica and Jeff Roberts did not initiate the steady stream of teachers, parents, and students who have complained about Swun Math, and they most certainly did not create the unwieldy program created to find another math resource.

What they did was raise the activist bar by further calling attention to Swun Math’s shortcomings by speaking at school board club meetings and organizing locals. What they did was take substantive steps to encourage the district to find an alternative program, then proceeded to hold the district accountable for following through. If they are persistent, it is only because they are not receiving the consistent and forthcoming information they (and the rest of us) expect from those in charge.

Putting the monkey on their backs is a clear sign of weak leadership. Blaming someone else for whatever is wrong is what weak leadership does when it knows it has failed in a task.

Those in the district who are weary of their persistence fail to understand that it is completely within their power to have the Roberts’ go away – something they wouldn’t mind at all, either.

All you have to do is give them what they want.

What they want is an end to the confusing and contradictory messaging they are receiving. What they want is a higher level of accountability, similar to that found in the private sector, which means letting everyone know who is responsible for what, when it will be completed, and what we will consider success or failure.

What they want are timely, succinct responses to their inquiries with direct answers to their questions.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but for a large group of well-paid administrators who are used to operating without such oversight, it can be frightening.

Everything is going to be OK – I promise. Just give them what they want.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

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