Attendance 'Scrubbing' Tempts Low-Ranked Schools

Friday, February 22, 2013

A former superintendent went to prison in Texas for conspiring to remove low-performing students from classrooms to boost average test scores. Principals in Oklahoma and Missouri are out of their jobs after attendance-related scandals.

In Ohio, a recent state audit uncovered nine districts that withdrew students retroactively or improperly reported they were attending alternative programs. In one instance, Auditor Dave Yost said, a district ignored state rules "because they didn't like them."

It's all part of a percolating national saga in which grown-ups — not kids — are the ones accused of cheating. Temptations to "scrubbing," the process of improperly fixing enrollment or attendance data to somehow improve a building's situation, can include rosier district report cards, added state or federal funding and employee bonuses.

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