And that should be very disturbing to all of Ohio’s citizens regardless of your personal opinion on the school attendance investigation.  At this point, the schools and the Ohio Department of Education have not been found in violation of a single law, guideline, directive, etc.  In fact, the investigation was initiated because of “irregularities” in attendance figures and a single district requested assistance in helping to identify what policies and practices might need to be revamped.

No laws broken, no crimes committed, simply a request for assistance from the agency in the state that would aid in conducted an impartial investigation.  Because that’s what the Auditor’s office does, it’s who they are – fair, impartial, objective, professional.

The Mission Statement of the Ohio Auditor of State makes it clear: 

And State Auditor Dave Yost started off by saying the right things on June 30, “Taxpayers deserve an independent review to ensure they are receiving accurate, reliable information about their schools.” Excellent. Professional, objective, driven by numbers and facts without regard to politics.

And June 30 is also when any pretense of objectivity surrounding this investigation ended.  Since that initial statement, every time Yost speaks he demonstrates his lack of curiosity about attendance-reporting processes and his proclivity as an experienced prosecuting attorney to assume guilt, seeking out only that evidence that will help him prove his case.

rig   [rig]  verb, rigged, rig·ging, noun

  1. to manipulate fraudulently.
  2. to arrange or tamper with the results of something.

Mr. Yost’s most obvious bias was explicitly revealed only a few weeks after his investigation began when he began using overtly negative language to describe the attendance probe in a letter to the State Board of Education:

In short, it appears that attendance report rigging is not a localized problem … but that it may be more systemic – and that raises the question of what role ODE played during the time that false reports were made by multiple schools.

There is no evidence at this time that anyone at ODE is involved in the attendance report rigging

Yost’s language clearly makes presumptive statements that any accusations of irregularities in the data can only mean that the attendance figures have been manipulated with fraudulent intent.  And in the first sentence above, he directly ties that claim of tampering to “false reports” that may have been made by multiple schools.  Instead of maintaining the Auditor office’s standard of objectivity, Yost has already jumped the gun and presumed that any false report must inherently be the result of intentional tampering with the intent to commit fraud.

And to be clear, Yost did not misspeak.  He subsequently reiterated his assumption of guilty behavior in a video he published in which he sought to reinforce his notion that fraudulent behavior had occurred and is seeking witnesses to prove his case.

I’m sure that most of you were just as unhappy about the reports of attendance-rigging as I was. And I’m betting that an awful lot of folks know something about what was going on but you haven’t known what to do; who to call; how to make it right.

Call our truth line.

  • Attendance-rigging. [Implies fraudulent behavior]
  • Make it right. [Implies all past actions were wrong]
  • Call our truth line. [Implies prior actions have been lies]

Again, Yost makes the clear assumption that any irregularities in reporting were the result of intentional, hidden, and inappropriate behavior instead of asking any questions about state laws or guidelines that articulate the policies and practices that districts follow regarding attendance reporting.  Yost is not interested in the truth, he’s interested in finding someone to prosecute.

Yost then defended his matter-of-fact statements in the video:

It’s really hard to see this fact pattern any other way.  Now, there may have been folks that were acting under direction that thought that everything was in the rules but when you’re manipulating the reports and the numbers to reflect something that’s not reality that’s wrongdoing.”

Yost freely admits that he has a bias, he has an inability to consider any other point of view in this investigation, even when people are saying their actions were in the rules (published by ODE).  Yost is unable to conceive that a state agency could have adopted rules or guidelines that might seemingly contradict his interpretation of reality.

And so the question of how an Ohio agency might put something into print that contradicts the reality brings us right back to the Ohio Auditor’s Mission Statement:

“We are professionals. We work under objective standards, driven by numbers and facts without regard to politics.”


Ohio will never know the truth.

  • M.B.A.

    Ohio Auditor Dave Yost reputation
    as a blowhard horse’s ass precedes him. For
    years Delaware County suffered his narcissism, dishonesty and “pay-for-play”
    schemes to extract “campaign contributions from the business community. His poor abilities as an attorney and county
    prosecutor are hallmarked by his numerous – read self-aggrandizing –
    prosecutions where he frequently over-indicted and under-prosecuted. Remember the Athens County Democrat that Yost
    prosecuted, more like persecuted, and frittered away hundreds of thousands of
    taxpayer dollars for nothing, certainly not the dozens of felonies he drooled
    over in his press releases.

    Yost liked to the public about
    not paying his Ohio income taxes when he was a county auditor and admitted drug
    use when he was younger, maybe in the drug-sotted Buck Rinehart Columbus Mayor’s
    office infamous for cocaine as an office activity. Yost is no prize winner at honesty, transparency
    in government, ethics, loyalty or objectivity. Yost is ruthlessly disloyal when it presents an opportunity for a headline for him. If there’s a headline Yost is on it if it’s a political advantage
    headline he’s on it with both feet.

    A few years ago it was said of a
    political miscreant similar to Yost that:

    “…He is a master of the art of propaganda. Ludecke writes: ‘He
    has a matchless instinct for taking advantage of every breeze to raise a
    political whirlwind. No official scandal was so petty that he could not magnify
    it into high treason; he could ferret out the most deviously [unreadable]
    corruption in high places and plaster the town with the bad news.’

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off;
    never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your
    enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on
    one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will
    believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently
    enough people will sooner or later believe it. …”

    is a fool, a political fool with political agenda and statutory power;
    therefore a dangerous fool. Yost will
    work the Republican political agenda to destroy public education so that he can
    advance himself in the GOP regime and garner campaign contributions from the charter
    school operators.

  • amyvav

    I’d like to point out to any non-educators out there that when the initial Ohio Achievement Assessment scores are released on June 15 the data is called “dirty data”. It is then the responsibility of the schools’ testing and EMIS coordinators, administrators, whoever to comb through and “clean” any discrepancies. These, in our district at least, usually consist of students who have moved into or out of our district (sometimes multiple times). The dates of attendance are checked carefully to determine in whose district the scores should count. When the official report card comes out, the numbers are rarely exactly what they were in the initial report. To repeat: We are supposed to check and alter the data as necessary to make sure that it accurately reflects the students’ home districts, ethnicity, disability status, etc. There’s nothing shady about it. Just due diligence.

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