- Chicago Public Schools has admitted that its graduation rate is 66%, rather than the 69% previously reported.
- WGN reports that CPS CEO Forrest Claypool chalked the misreported rate up to a statistical error and said the graduation rate is improving, albeit more slowly.
- Still, the district is said to have known the correct numbers for three months before and did not report them.
The inflated graduation rate and the withholding of the actual number are being tied to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reelection campaign. But it’s not uncommon for graduation rates to be inflated by significant margins due to accountability concerns and a desire to sway parental approval.
An investigation by NPR earlier this summer found good reason to doubt the reported 81% nationwide high school graduation rate. The investigation identified multiple ways districts can fudge the numbers, from deliberate cheating to mislabeled dropout numbers to eased graduation rates. Those doubts have raised the question of what steps policymakers can take to ensure numbers are valid and to write sound policy based on them.