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School Report Cards May Be Delayed Because of Scandal

Report cards for Ohio schools are supposed to be released Aug. 29. But state school officials may delay the release until September while the state auditor investigates whether school districts have manipulated data for better results.

A data-tampering scandal may cause the Ohio Department of Education to delay the release of the school report cards until September, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

The report cards are slated to be released Aug. 29. But State Board of Education President Debe Terhar has requested that the release of report cards be delayed until at least Sept. 10 when the state board meets again.

The concern is that the school report card data may not be accurate. The Dispatch reports that the state auditor is currently investigating whether some districts, including Columbus, have manipulated data to obtain a better score.

The allegations, which began in Columbus schools, are that school employees withdrew and then re-enrolled students so their test scores wouldn’t be included. Other school districts are suspected of the same practice.

The newspaper reports that acting State Superintendent Michael Sawyers will release a plan for the report cards at a special meeting today.

Patch will provide you more information on when report cards will be released as soon as we can.

Adam C. Miller August 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The Culture of Corruption
James Thomas August 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Patrick, Design a system that eliminates or at least minimizes the ability of all parties to manipulate it and it will garner overwhelming bipartisan support; and if it requires additional funding to implement it I would gladly work to see this accomplished.
Patrick Giusto August 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I've tinkered with this a lot, actually. In fact (and this is sad) it's one of my hobbies. It's just really, really complex James. There's just so many different dynamics at play in education (student body demographics, different levels of academics, classroom dynamics, etc. etc.) across so many different variables (geography, economic status, time spent in the classroom, etc.) that it's nearly impossible to find a system that eliminates all those variables to ensure a fair comparison. And politically speaking, it's a nightmare; because everyone in school administration and politics wants a nice, tidy number that everyone can understand. And as long as we focus on making students a number, someone will always be there who wants to fudge those numbers. Even if you sat down and asked everyone you knew what the definiton of an "excellent" education was, you'd probably find out that they'd say things that are not numerically measurable. They want "great teachers" in their schools, but how do you judge a great teacher? And relative to what/whom? They want kids who are critical thinkers and can apply their core skills, but whose judgment dictates if they have succeeded? I can tell you that we have broken this system so badly that we are nowhere near the answer. And we're heading in a direction that breaks the system further each day, as we're seeing plans to use these very same broken metrics applied to things like teacher pay.
James Thomas August 20, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Patrick, There's the rub. You take care of the education end and, I kid you not, I will take on the political end. I believe that if you could come up with the Idea part, I could work the political side successfully. I truly do believe that the "Right Idea" can take care of the politics every time.
Frank August 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Is Brecksville guilty?
Kent Millstead August 21, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I think spelling and Capitalization have already loost judging by this post.
Kent Millstead August 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I judge schools on how many physicians, engineers, successful businesspeople, etc. they have as alumni, not on whether the worst 10% of students miss a couple of extra items on a multiple choice test.
Frank August 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Test the teachers for drugs I finally agree with donald
Michael's Shorts August 21, 2012 at 12:40 AM
The measurement system itself here is the scandal that Ohio residents have been duped into believing in for over a decade. It's a lazy and inaccurate system that judges schools/districts on things that are beyond their control, which is ridiculous. You give me the demographic profile of a school (including percentages of race, poverty level, special education, andEnglish language learners) and I bet you that I can guess its rating or letter grade around 95% of the time without knowing much else about the school, including its level of funding. Until we have a system that is more accurate in determining just how well a school or district is actually doing in achieving its mission, I won't get worked up over any "scandals" because it's just pointless banter about a worthless system.
James Thomas August 21, 2012 at 12:51 AM
The problem is, as Churchill might say, It's the worst system ever devised; except for everything that came before it.
Michael's Shorts August 21, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I don't know. In a lot of ways, I think a strong argument can be made that have no measurement system would be better than the one we have. I know, I know, in this era of hyper-testing and data obsession, such an argument would be blasphemous!
John McMillan August 21, 2012 at 02:50 AM
LOL@Kent Milstead, brilliantly ironic post!!
Frank August 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM
James Churchill is dead....this is 2012. Lets speak of the facts THE BBHSD was rated B- by the Ohio Board of Education...despite the protests of our Super Mr. Prebbles. It seems all of the money we have poured into our teachers over the years was and is a very bad investment with diminishing returns. The union has killed our shool district... had we had teachers that were paid on results/merit we wouldn't be in the spot we are in. Lets take a look at what we have A teachers union that wants more money for an average result. There are smart kids in every district we are nothing special...time to face reality hate to burst your bubble Not to insult we are no more thatn an average school district with below average staff...
Frank August 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM
James Churchill is dead....this is 2012. Lets speak of the facts THE BBHSD was rated B- by the Ohio Board of Education...despite the protests of our Super Mr. Prebbles. It seems all of the money we have poured into our teachers over the years was and is a very bad investment with diminishing returns. The union has killed our shool district... had we had teachers that were paid on results/merit we wouldn't be in the spot we are in. Lets take a look at what we have A teachers union that wants more money for an average result. There are smart kids in every district we are nothing special...time to face reality hate to burst your bubble
Stan Stepak August 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I think it is great that they are looking into this. So many of us look to those results as being real/factual information on our schools.
Michael's Shorts August 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
FYI there is no conclusive evidence showing any connection between merit pay and student outcomes. If you're not happy with the results--and this goes for any school or district--look to the parents first. Education is a partnership between a number of parties, your child's success or failure is not all the teacher's doing. And a B- is still above average.
James Thomas August 21, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Patrick, perhaps we're looking at the wrong model. Don't the Catholic schools deal with the same issues? How do they deliver the education that they do, and could that be duplicated or at least modified to work in the Public School arena?
Scott Evans August 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Gary, What does Weapons of Mass Destruction have to do with this topic? Can't you stay focused? Do you mean the Weapons of Mass Destruction that Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry (who served in Viet Nam), John Edwards, Harry Reid, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Bil Richardson, Madeline Albright, and other ranking Dems said that Saddam had. Do you mean those??? They're in Syria now.
Patrick Giusto August 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM
You really can't compare parochial schools to public schools. It's really hard to make a generalization, but most private, parochial, and/or charter schools do not have to meet the same state requirements. Some of them don't have to take the state test, and most of them don't even have to hire state-qualified teachers. They are just entities in and of themselves, or the private network of schools they belong to. Plus, most of those models of schools, remember, can essentially discriminate their student body. They mostly set their own rules. They can say "Our minimum GPA is 1.5, and anyone who doesn't have that gets kicked out." Public schools can't do that. The same goes with behavior. If a kid in a school that privately sets their own rules wants to expel a kid, they just do it. It's quite a bit harder to expel a kid in the public schools for fear of lawsuits. Now, I'm not suggesting the public schools should start practicing minimum GPAs or become more heavy-handed with expulsions (necessarily), but what I am saying is you can't make a comparison between two different types of schools when one has the ability to adjust its population and the other does not.
James Thomas August 21, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Patrick, that's kind of what I had thought in the back of my mind but that's also why I asked.
Anastasia Pantsios August 21, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Actually, the words "tampering," "cheating" or "scandal" are all loaded conclusions for a situation in which there may be no "tampering," "cheating" or "scandal" at all. The more I've read about this complex situation, the more it seems like confused directives came out of the state department of education and it's possible that no one in the school system did anything wrong. Instead, certain media, including this article, have basically acted as judge and jury and condemned before the evidence has even been collected. The Columbus Dispatch has been in the forefront, but it has an agenda: it has long aggressively attacked public education on many fronts, some valid, most not. This article sloppily repeats the framing of the situation being investigated as a "scandal" featuring "manipulation." At this time we don't know that to be true.
Garry Kanter August 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Great job! It's amazing how clear the stories become once actual factual data is gathered and reported. But that's no fun.
Diana Sabitsch August 21, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I have been asked if I am the Diana quoted above, Just FYI it is not me. Thanks Diana Sabitsch Revere Schools
Joe August 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Don't you think it's absurd that a school is going to be graded on students who don't show up? These chronically absent students should not be counted in any test results. If they are not there, how can the schools educate them? I don't condone what may have been done in the Columbus school district (nor do I know the whole story) but I don't see how these students test results should be on any report card. Neither should the students who have moved to the school within 2 months of any state test. How can that school be judged on how that student does? What about the student who has been at three schools in less than half a year? It happens, as the parent gets evicted from one residence to another or has to constantly move for whatever reason. How many elementary kids are going to do great when they come from families where in the last year a family member has been killed or jailed, where they have been neglected or abused? My wife used to teach in an elementary school where these were not uncommon stories from the kids. Where a nine year old was in charge of getting her two younger siblings up and to the school, stopping at the convenient store on the way to school to get them something to eat. Getting them to school by 11 AM. These poor kids have so much stacked against them that it's amazing if they can pay attention to a teacher for anytime, let alone read,
Tom Mcfalls August 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Always a conspiracy in Stow from the constant complainers. There are issues here that go past spelling and capitalization.
Bulldog Alum August 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
well well mr. kent, john and tom it is so nice to see the one that speakith the truith is the only to gettith thiy comment , only one must knoweth what the trueth must holdis store for those whoeth steel, cheeteth and lye and are thus the biggest loost hypycrits. So in retrospect I would think you three paranoid morons would be better off barking up another tree. Because the conspiracy you create. Will feed the light until it's to late. Bulldog Mula
Frank August 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Joe, The Brecksville/Broadview Hts District received a B- grade under the new scoring system despite the complaints of our super. No matter what the standard we are comapared agianst our peers... Other districcts around us received A's. Factually we are cheating published in the Gazette our Super Mr. Prebbles is investigating the standards used to evaluate.....Its the same as knowing the answers before you take the test. All things and districts equal we scored B-.... But please call the OBE like I did to verify.......
Frank August 23, 2012 at 11:06 AM
UH I could not agree with you more.... Our parents make this district with out a doubt. Our teachers thrown in East Cleveland would do not better than the teachers that are there now. We should give pay raises to our teachers base on their ability to teach. The BOE should lift the max pay a teacher can top out at substanially. Remove step, base, and longevity raises and go directly to merit. Further we should ask our teachers to have a Masters Degree in the subject they teach and pay them for their degree. Wouldn't it be great if our teachers had a "Masters in English" Masters in Math" etc....How can you have a teacher that has a undergrad degree in English and a "Masters in Teaching" teach advanced math in our district.... Perhaps this is the reason why our district has an average rating of B- and the number parents sending their kids to private school is growing.. Your thoughts please
James Thomas August 23, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Patrick, "Now, I'm not suggesting the public schools should start practicing minimum GPAs or become more heavy-handed with expulsions (necessarily), but what I am saying is you can't make a comparison between two different types of schools when one has the ability to adjust its population and the other does not." Should We?
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Should we... what? I'm not sure I understand the question. Do you mean: "Should we start allowing public schools to keep minimum GPAs and afford our administrators easier paths to expel students"; OR: "Should we make comparisons between schools that can do those things and schools that cannot"?

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