Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Six Ohio school districts that were found to have altered student data to improve their performance ratings were issued new state report cards on Tuesday.
The Ohio Department of Education released the report cards for all 143 schools in the six districts, which include Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo.
The state changed grades for 20 schools for the 2010-2011 school year. Grades at 10 Cleveland schools dropped, according to The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1ih3QPm ). The only two that rose were in Cincinnati.
According to a news release from the state, the most significant change was the lowering of the 2011 rating for the Northridge Local School District near Dayton in southwest Ohio. The district went from "Excellent" to "Continuous Improvement," a drop of two levels under the rating system in place at that time.
The inflated rating had allowed the district to receive nearly $28,000 in state bonus money for excellent academic performance. The department is demanding the district return the money.
"Actions that mislead the public about the performance of our education system are unacceptable," state Superintendent Richard Ross said in a statement. "Local communities should have confidence that schools are giving a full and honest accounting of how they are educating our children. By recalculating the report cards, we are taking an important step to restore that trust."
In addition to recalculating the report cards, the Education Department is conducting a separate investigation to determine if any personnel participated in conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession by contributing to the submission of inaccurate data.
State Auditor Dave Yost found that a handful of districts statewide "scrubbed" kids who hadn't left from the rolls so their grades wouldn't hurt overall performance ratings.
Those students were added back in and the real grades and academic data were figured for those districts.