THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH by CHARLIE BOSS (MY TWO SENSE: Is it any wonder that Ohio is using Common Core in its schools? The acceptance and decision to implement CC, not only takes a twisted self-image but also greed and a willingness to commit crimes against children. Altering official records, of any kind, also requires unbridled arrogance and a belief that the crime will go unnoticed. This degree of narcissism, also known as pride, always goes before an inevitable fall. Ohio has yet to disappoint. Hallelujah! JM)
Auditor’s focus in records seizure was mostly grade changes
876 students’ data taken, including 100 for attendance
State Auditor Dave Yost seized records of grade and attendance changes for more than 870 students for his data-tampering investigation, according to a Dispatch analysis of court documents.
The auditor’s office released some pages from each of the 34 search warrants that investigators served at 20 Columbus high schools on Thursday. They sought records for individual students identified by their student identification number. Those numbers were blacked out on the warrants released yesterday.
Officials in Yost’s office and in Columbus schools wouldn’t comment on the warrants.
But the warrants mirror what’s already known about data changes in Columbus high schools, with the auditor searching for the most records at some schools where district records showed the most data changes.
Most of the student records — 776 of them — pertained to grade changes.
The auditor searched records for 183 students at Marion-Franklin High School, the most among the 20 high schools.
The Dispatch reported in January that an assistant principal at the school, Stanley K. Pyle, was responsible for switching 495 individual course grades from an F to a D during the 2010-11 school year. Pyle announced he will retire at the end of the school year, and district officials say he is using up his accrued vacation time.
Meanwhile, three of the top five schools where the auditor asked for attendance records were Whetstone, Marion-Franklin and Mifflin. They were also schools where Columbus administrator Amy Dennis is known to have deleted absences. The auditor sought attendance information for 25 students at Whetstone, 13 at Marion-Franklin and 10 at Mifflin, nearly half of the total of 100 records he sought at 14 schools.
Dennis, the former Whetstone principal who oversees district special education, also has come up in subpoenas and other records associated with the 10-month investigation.
The district’s data show that Dennis deleted 7,735 absences since the 2006-07 school year. All but 1,000 of those deletions were in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years at Whetstone. Records show that Dennis also deleted records at Marion-Franklin and Mifflin.
Yost already has said that Columbus school administrators “scrubbed” low-performing students from the rolls to make schools and the district look better. Investigators have begun to focus on whether employees improperly changed students’ grades. Changing a high-school student’s final grade from an F to a D could boost a school’s graduation rate, a key factor on state report cards.
The auditor’s office did not conduct searches at Columbus Alternative and Downtown Columbus high schools on Thursday.
Warrants executed in schools probe (newsnet5.com)
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