Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rahm's school administrators cooked the books on dropouts

“The annual OIG report is a testament of our cooperation and demonstrates we do not tolerate any wrongdoing, and CPS has either addressed or is addressing all the issues in the report.” -- CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey
CPS I.G. Nicholas Schuler
Ooooh that smell...While Rahm and BBB scrambled for media coverage about supposed record grad rates, CPS School administrators were busy "misclassifying" dropouts to make their schools look better. This according to the annual report from Rahm's own appointed schools I.G. Nicholas Schuler.

At one school alone, nearly 300 dropouts were wiped off the books since 2009. At another high school officials did the same thing for 18 students.

I don't necessarily blame U of C's Consortium on Chicago School Research for running with the numbers they get from CPS. I just think they should be cautious in how they spin those numbers. I guess I'm still pissed at the Consortium's lead author of it's report on grad rates, calling for a "celebration" of the reported 4% bump.

I also don't know if Rahm/BBB are actively pushing administrators to cook reported dropout rates (remember Bush's Texas "Miracle") or if they acted on their own. But bureaucrats know full well what numbers they're expected to produce if they are going to survive in a high-stakes "data-driven" system where the mayor runs the schools autocratically.

I doubt that Schuler's report, which may be giving up a little to hide a lot, will go anywhere except Rahm's circular file. The CPS I.G. can only make recommendations and has no power to force system-wide changes. Also, I'm pretty sure Schuler got the nod from Rahm's people before releasing the report, which mentions among other things,
  • Nearly $900,000 stolen from two Chicago high schools.
  • Lying CPS employees who skirted the system to get their own kids into the best schools.
  • And a CPS administrator who “engaged in questionable conduct” when a nearly $100 million contract was in the process of being awarded.
With the election only weeks away, it's always better to get the dirt out yourself before your opponents do it. Then you can prime your troops with prepared media hokum, like the statement above from CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey.

Not on Duncan's VIP list?...One thing you can probably count on is punishment of those teacher/parents who allegedly "skirted the system" to get their own kids into elite selective enrollment schools. I mean, who do they think they are, Gov. Rauner?

1 comment:

  1. Mike, to clarify, at the Consortium we do not simply run with the numbers we receive from CPS. We conduct our own rigorous analysis of the numbers, and have in fact looked closely at the transfer issue. We determined that even if you take the most conservative approach possible—counting ALL transfers as dropouts—there remains a significant improvement in the percentage of CPS students who make it to high school graduation.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.