Dispatch must apologize

The school attendance erasures issue continues to be a scandal that isn't. Despite finding nothing more than bureaucratic missteps in his first interim report, the State Auditor has now released a second interim report that has found no evidence of wrongdoing at a further batch of schools.

Just two weeks before school districts across Ohio ask voters for more money, state Auditor Dave Yost reported that his team has not uncovered any more evidence of scrubbing student attendance data.

In the latest update, Yost said auditors examined records at 81 schools in 47 districts and cleared all but eight of the 81. Testing at those eight buildings as well as 15 other buildings from the first interim report is still underway, Yost said. A final report is due sometime around Jan. 1.

Twenty of the 81 schools examined in this round had reporting errors but not enough to suggest scrubbing.
“Odds are most districts are reporting their attendance data accurately and they’re not scrubbing,” Yost said at a press conference Tuesday.

Again, simply some bureaucratic missteps caused by "the sheer complexity of the accountability system" as the Auditor himself describes it, in his conclusion.

This is a far cry from the irresponsible reporting and opinionating that the Columbus Dispatch has engaged in for a number of months now. Time and time again they have failed to wait for the evidence, and instead jumped to conclusions and made inferences that turned out to be incorrect.

Rather than bemoan the slipping away of a potential Pulitzer, they surely thought they were earning, they ought to have some serious introspection on how they could have gotten a story so very wrong and caused Ohio's schools systems so much trouble.

They have slandered and smeared thousands of public school employees up and down the state with their reckless allegations and accusations. They need to apologize and accept responsibility.

Second Interim Report on Student Attendance and Accountability System