Errors, inaccuracies revealed in state's school report card for East Cleveland

Posted at 6:18 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 10:27:25-04

After digging into the state Department of Education's report cards for current and planned state takeovers, News 5 found there are some issues within the report cards of at least one district — East Cleveland. 

"We found some inaccuracies within the report card," said Tom Domzalski, East Cleveland School District's director of research, data and assessments. 

Domzalski said "without a doubt," the district and students are performing better than the state's report card reflects. 

An example of one of the errors in the state report card was that it showed that only 90.9 percent of principals in East Cleveland have a college degree, but state law requires principals to have a bachelor's and master's degree. According to East Cleveland officials, all of their principals do. 

So where did the state come up with the 90.9 percent? That's unclear, but it's not the only problem. 

There are errors, inconsistencies and numbers from last year within the document reflecting East Cleveland School District's 2018 failing grade. 

"One times .15 percent is not .075 percent," Domzalski said, pointing out errors in the math published on the first page. "...the math just isn't correct."

According to Domzalski, the inconsistencies don't stop there.

"In terms of our prepared for success measure, we are showing that students are not taking college credit courses. That's not true," he said. 

There are students in East Cleveland getting credit from Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State University and Wilburforce College. 

"We walked 193 students across the stage between our spring and summer graduation. That's a tremendous boon for us. But that's not represented in this report card because the prepared for success measure and graduation rate are set to be a year behind. They are lagging," Domzalski said. 

As News 5 has reported- since 2015, three consecutive failed report cards mean, by law, a district is subject to a takeover by the state through an Academic Distress Commission appointed by the state superintendent. 

RELATED: Are Ohio school takeovers effective? If we don't know, why are they continuing?

East Cleveland is grappling with a takeover after having three consecutive failed report cards. 

"The state of Ohio should be reporting data accurately," Domzalski said. 

What does the state have to say about all of this? 

"When we went to the state and said we see there is an issue going on here. We would like to resubmit data so that what we are doing can be accurately reflected, we were told that wasn't going to be possible," Domzalski explained. 

The Ohio Department of Education told East Cleveland Schools that because the corrections wouldn't impact their overall grade, they wouldn't republish, but make a note on the report card instead. 

The note reads: "Prepared for Success data subject to change due to local reporting error. Contact district for more information." 

"The data was not reported in a timely fashion.  We requested an appeal to re-submit our data. That appeal was denied on the grounds that the change would not impact the overall grade for the measure.  The compromise was the watermark," he clarified. 

"In our discussion regarding the prepared for success measure," the state admitted there were inconsistencies in the data, but refused to change them because it would not affect the overall grade, Domzalski said.

RELATED: Another year of failures means new leadership for East Cleveland schools

For clarification, News 5 asked Domalzski: "Because it wouldn't have changed the F to an A, they didn't feel it necessary to change the inaccuracies within the report?"

"That's exactly right,"  Domzalski said.

News 5 sent requests regarding the errors outlined in the report and the way they were handled to the Ohio Department of Education.

The department of education responded with this statement:

The Department stands by the report card grade issued to East Cleveland and due to ongoing litigation, we have no further comment at this time.