Discrepancy Points To Big Problems

A testy exchange between an Ohio Board of Education member and state Auditor Dave Yost this week helped make it clear serious problems exist in some of the state’s largest school systems.

Yost met with the board to discuss his office’s investigation of scores of school districts suspected of doctoring enrollment statistics reported to the state. Doing so can make a district look better on state performance standards than actually is the case.

Among districts caught in questionable enrollment reporting practices were the big Columbus and Cleveland school systems. It was Yost’s report on Cleveland schools that sparked a confrontation with state board member Mary Rose Oakar, who for many years represented Cleveland in Congress.

Oakar “challenged the accuracy of Yost’s findings against the Cleveland Public Schools – noting the totals were off by 14,000 students,” the Associated Press reported.

Yost explained the discrepancy was because of a difference between data from the state Department of Education and the Cleveland school district. He said the numbers are being addressed.

Perhaps so, but a difference of 14,000 students between state and school district records sounds like a problem – and it isn’t the fault of Yost’s office.

Cleveland schools have many problems, including a graduation rate of just 56.1 percent. Instead of criticizing Yost, perhaps Oakar and the state board should be more concerned with why the local and state numbers don’t match.