The internal district e-mail exchanges obtained by parent Erica Roberts after months of delays reveal chronic problems with the district’s elementary math program but no strategic plan to fix it. Instead, they used spit and Band-Aids to repair the program that would ultimately be scrapped.

Here is one teacher’s e-mail from as late as March, 2016, which reveals the frustration many of them felt:

Once again there is a mistake in the swun answer key. For Unit problem , the answer key says [redacted] when in actuality it should be [redacted] .
1 divided by 15 = .067 not .67..
Perhaps one day swun will get it right. This is getting really ridiculous.

The terrifying aspects of this years-long bungle are:

  1. Students were continued to be taught math through a flawed program long after chronic problems were revealed. This violates the most sacred goal of the district, which is to provide the best possible education for our students.
  2. No one took ownership of this mess. Not one person had the moral courage to stand up and admit any responsibility. Yet, in his last review, the school board club gave the superintendent more tax dollars and a rating of “exceptional.”
  3. It took a parent, Erica Roberts, to force the district to do what teachers knew they should have done years before.

Students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers don’t need bureaucrats who sacrifice students at the altar of responsibility. We need courageous leaders who have the personal confidence in their abilities to speak up and speak out and take responsibility for whatever part they had in whatever mess has been created.

Ultimately, this scandal belongs to the school board club, which trusted highly-paid administrators to fix everything. The club members failed to ask the right questions, failed to hold anyone accountable, and failed in their chief responsibility.

In the 31 years I have lived here, no scandal comes close to this one.

There are people who should be ashamed of themselves; people who should resign as a result of what they did and did not do.

Instead, we get business as usual.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD