Well, what do you know.
The College Fix: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had heralded the improved graduation rate of students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) during his re-election campaign … right up through his February triumph.
But there’s a problem: It wasn’t true.
Last Thursday, the CPS admitted that the graduation figures were “overstated.” This came after a Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation showed “thousands of students were being counted as transfers when they should have been counted as dropouts.”
CPS previously claimed that 69.4 percent of students who started high school in 2009 graduated by the summer of 2014. But on Thursday, officials revealed that the rate is, in fact, 66.3 percent.
Asked whether the numbers were fudged on purpose, CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said when she was a principal, she knew how to properly categorize transfers.
Jackson also acknowledged that some principals might feel pressure to boost their graduation rate on paper so their school ranking is better.
CPS also revised the graduation rate for 2013, from 65.4 percent to 62.5 percent; for 2012, from 61.2 percent to 59.3 percent, and for 2011, from 58.3 percent to 56.9 percent.
The BGA and WBEZ reported in June that a review of CPS’ own records showed at least 2,200 students from 25 Chicago high schools were wrongly counted as “transfers” – departing the system for another school district from 2011 to 2014 – when they should have been considered “dropouts.”
CPS officials initially said they had no plans to go back and adjust the numbers. It’s unclear why they changed minds.
Breitbart’s Warner Todd Huston notes that Mayor Emanuel had “repeatedly cited” the inflated stats as “shining examples of the promise of Chicago’s future.”
Huston points out, too, that the CPS Inspector General had “raised the alarm over the falsified stats early this year.”