Auditor of State Dave Yost released the findings of a special audit of the Columbus City Schools’s 2010–11 records last Tuesday. The audit investigated whether the district manipulated student data—reported for accountability and funding purposes—and what they found was abhorrent. The district was woefully out of compliance, intentionally and deliberately falsifying records to its own advantage. The auditor has referred its findings to city, county, and federal prosecutors. The audit of Columbus City Schools is part of a larger investigation into districts that “scrubbed” student records, with Columbus’s long-simmering data scandal, which first broke in Summer 2012, being the most egregious case.
It is a sorrowful time for Columbus. Our take on the report’s findings and how the city can begin to recover follow below.
Chad Aldis: Glimmers of hope
The Columbus education-data scandal, brought to light by the crackerjack reporting of the Columbus Dispatch, has been unfolding for a year and a half. During that time, there have been hundreds (if not thousands) of column inches devoted to the sordid details—so much so that I expected State Auditor Yost’s report to be little more than a period at the end of a sentence. I was wrong.
Reading through the report and observing public reaction to its findings leaves me feeling angry, appalled, and disgusted.
I’m angry that this could happen. We rely on our schools to educate our students, to look out for their interests, and to prepare them for the future. We don’t expect...