State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today called on State Auditor Dave Yost to launch an official investigation into reports that Education Department officials illegally manipulated a key evaluation of charter school oversight agencies by omitting failing grades from many online charters. The deliberate omission by officials boosted the ratings of two oversight agencies, potentially qualifying them for new state perks.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that the auditor expressed concerns about the illegal data manipulation but that his office was so far only “collecting information,” not conducting an official investigation.
“Education Department officials violated the law by deliberately manipulating data in order to cover up for failing online charter schools,” said Fedor. “Simply collecting information is not enough – this matter demands a full and immediate investigation by the state auditor’s office.”
The Toledo lawmaker earlier today formally submitted a letter demanding that the state superintendent resign his position, citing the violations of the law that occurred under his watch.
“Your duty as state superintendent is to follow the law, period,” said Fedor in her letter to Superintendent Ross. “I am outraged by the recent revelation that your subordinates unlawfully manipulated key charter school evaluations in order to cover for failing online charters. State officials do not get to pick and choose which Ohio laws to follow. That this gross violation of the law was allowed to occur under your leadership is entirely unacceptable.”
A copy of the letter to Audito Yost calling of an official investigation is attached:
July 17, 2015
Dave Yost Auditor of State 88 East Broad Street, 5th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear State Auditor Yost:
I write today to formally request an investigation by your office into allegations that Education Department officials deliberately violated the law by manipulating data in a key evaluation of charter school oversight agencies.
Board members, lawmakers, and parents across the state are outraged by what appears to be a deliberate violation of the law in order to cover up the widespread failure of online and dropout recovery charter schools.
As you yourself noted, officials “don’t get to pick and choose the laws [they] obey.” The Department of Education – from the superintendent on down – can and must follow the law.
This egregious violation demands a full and thorough investigation. I urge you to launch an official investigation into the matter immediately.
State Representative Teresa Fedor