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'We don't have a whole lot of wiggle room': Painesville superintendent speaks out on Ohio report cards

The assessments were shockingly low, but some districts say folks aren't seeing the whole picture.

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The results are in, and, across the board, Ohio's school report card numbers are lower.

Akron scored just 39 compared to 67 last year, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District scored around 38, compared to 61 a few years back. CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the numbers.

The scores are based on performance index marks as well as graduation and attendance rates for the 2020-2021 school year. By-and-large, they provide a snapshot of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on student academic performance.

Districts are on the defensive, saying the data is misleading because of so many students going untested. Painesville City Local Schools Superintendent Josh Englehart says the district's sharp decline — about 34% compared to the previous grading period — is not an accurate reflection of how the district is doing or how hard it is to get kids back on track.

"I was disappointed that the data are being used ... the way that they're being used," Englehart told 3News. "We had about half of our kids in remote instruction, whereas other districts had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% or so of their kids online."

According to Englehart, the absent students don't count.

"We had 47.5% of our kids who weren't tested," he said. "Every one of those untested tests counts as a zero in performance index, so you see this, artificial, massive, decrease."

Englehart added Painesville's intervention for struggling students has never stopped, and because it's a district that's economically disadvantaged, they strive to get kids passing grades.

"The difference between us and a lot of those other districts are the expectation for us is we have to be perfect every day," he explained. "We have to be perfect in every moment of every lesson, every day with every kid, and that's what our expectation is. We don't have a whole lot of wiggle room. We don't have kids showing up on the first day of school who could already pass that test, so we've got to be perfect, and that's where our efforts are all the time ... is to be perfect in every moment of every day."

To check your school's report card, click HERE.