Uncover Cheating By School Officials

Clearly, Ohio public schools require a better system for ensuring education administrators are not lying to the public. Gov. John Kasich and legislators should see to it that one is established.

Student attendance reports in every Buckeye State school district are being examined to determine where cheating occurred to make the numbers look better than actually was the case. There is evidence the practice has been widespread.

In discussing what amounts to a conspiracy among many of her subordinates, Columbus school Superintendent Gene Harris admitted this week dozens of administrators changed attendance data.

One reason for that was the district’s “gainsharing” program, through which principals and teachers in schools that appeared to be performing well on the state’s “report card” were rewarded financially. They received pay bonuses for good numbers, including those on attendance reports.

Harris insists she did not know about the cheating – and in a way, that is a problem. It should make Ohioans wonder whether cheating on statistics is being covered up in their school districts, perhaps even being kept from superintendents and boards of education.

Another comment by Harris also is disturbing. She has cited by name a Columbus schools official who showed principals how to alter attendance data. He has been reassigned to other duties.

Why hasn’t he been fired?

Anyone involved in lying to the public about school performance should be fired. And, again, it is clear the state needs a corps of investigators to root out cheating and to ensure those responsible are punished.