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Schools hiding absences by misreporting absentee CPS students as transfers, dropouts, says IG

Chicago public schools appear to have widespread problems with the tracking of student truancy, according to an inspector general report released this morning that says some administrators may be hiding the possibility of chronic absenteeism in order to make their schools look better. Used to be.

The report noted that in many cases misrepresenting students who remained absent as missing, dropouts, or outgoing transfers meant that schools did not properly verify the whereabouts of children and readjust them to their classes. Haven’t tried to join. The investigation looked at issues before the pandemic, but when schools closed and, according to some estimates, CPS needed to reconnect with the 100,000 children who were not regularly attending school. This practice went bad.

There’s a reason administrators want to hide absenteeism: The district’s school rating system, currently suspended and under reform, penalizes schools for high absenteeism and dropout rates. Critics have often called the rating system punitive and unequal.

“The schools have been assigned to provide this information to the district. And at the same time, they are assessed on absenteeism, and they have an incentive to have a low absence rate,” Inspector General Will Fletcher said in an interview. “It calls for better centralized monitoring and oversight of the data coming out of those schools.” does. And so far, we haven’t seen that happen.”

CPS spokeswoman Mary Fergus said in a statement that the district is building a team to improve data reporting around transfers and dropouts and support students and schools on transfer.

The investigation, included in the CPS Office of the Inspector General’s annual report, which details its largest number of cases over the past year, reviewed records from the 2018-19 school year, the last completed before the pandemic. State law and CPS policy require accurate record keeping of any student who leaves school enrollment.

Investigators began with an unnamed elementary school that reported a particularly high rate of transfers, saying administrators there “intentionally miscoded students as transfers or lost children so that these students’ absences could be attributed to the school.” not be against the attendance rate of The report stated that a school culture coordinator and two clerks were routinely removing absent students from enrollment by recording them as transfers. In one school year, 20 children were recorded as transfers but the school had no supporting documentation. The emails showed that in many cases, staff knew the student was actually absent.

Absent students who are mislabeled as transfers are not as likely to receive the support and re-engagement efforts from the district as they would otherwise be.

The investigation found further evidence that these problems are widespread throughout the district and “calls into question the reliability of transfer and dropout data that CPS uses in calculating key metrics such as attendance and graduation rates.” A review of records from 100 schools found 36 that falsely reported to CPS that they had verified a student transfer. In those cases, the schools did not have the necessary records showing that the student had actually transferred to a new school.

That misreporting was originally flagged by CPS officials when the district began auditing schools’ self-reported transfer data in 2018.

Our Nader Issa and WBEZ’s Sarah Karp have more here.

more news you need

  1. A witness told investigators that a 9-year-old boy pointed a gun to his head and accidentally shot himself inside a crowded home in Washington Heights on New Year’s Day, according to a police report. The report said details of the shooting came from another child, who told investigators that Jarvis Watts was playing with a gun when a shot rang out in the bedroom of a home on Sunday evening.
  2. The mother of 8-year-old Cooper Roberts has shared new details about his recovery after he was injured six months ago in the 4th of July parade massacre in Highland Park. In the shooting, Cooper was shot in the spine and was paralyzed below the waist. Our David Strutt has more details on Cooper’s recovery.
  3. One of the country’s most influential civil rights organizations has sent a scathing letter to city officials about firing a Chicago police officer for associating with members of the far-right Proud Boys and then lying to investigators. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that the CPD should do a better job of eliminating insurgency in its ranks.
  4. A businessman convicted nearly five years ago in an extortion trial that revolved around the “vicious” beating of a west suburban restaurant owner over a $50,000 loan has been sentenced to six years in prison Was. The 39-year-old has already served much of that time, in custody, since his May 2018 conviction, as our John Seidel reports.
  5. Following an FDA rule change earlier this week that expanded the availability of abortion pills, both Walgreens and CVS say they will seek certification to distribute one of the drugs. Once certified, both drugstore chains will be able to fill prescriptions for mifepristone, which can be used to terminate pregnancies of up to 10 weeks.
  6. Today’s CPS inspector general report also touched on the district’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program, a controversial military-run training program that has seen a decline in enrollment of newcomers. The report said the decline came after CPS leaders cracked down on schools that were effectively forcing first-year students to attend.
  7. Additionally, the CPS watchdog reported today that district officials are attempting to recover more than $56,000 from a family accused of lying about their residency in order to send their daughter to a highly competitive city high school. Is charged. The report said the student attended Northside College Prep from 2019 until last month, but actually lived with her mother in suburban Lincolnwood.
  8. Some two dozen renters, who say they were shivering inside their chilly Logan Square apartment for two weeks in December, are withholding half a month’s rent in protest. Tenants say they shouldn’t pay rent for two weeks after their apartments were not livable, our Stefano Esposito reports.
  9. An Oak Park building where the chaplain once lived has been converted into an emergency overnight shelter. The shelter at 38 N. Austin Blvd. A hot dinner and a continental-style breakfast will be served for up to 10 guests, who will also receive a bagged lunch upon departure.
  10. With a very literal backdrop of the 95th Street Bridge to the southeast, Vice President Kamala Harris was in Chicago yesterday to tout the impact of the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure law. The funding includes a $144 million grant to rehabilitate four bridges along the Calumet River.
  11. A Louisiana man has filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, accusing the carrier of breach of contract when it offered him and other passengers refunds for flights canceled during last month’s winter storm Was. The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed in New Orleans federal court on December 30 by Eric Capdeville, is seeking damages for passengers on flights canceled after Christmas Eve.

a bright

The search continues for Chicago’s first Poet Laureate

Chicago is looking for its first official Poet Laureate.

The Mayor’s Office in partnership with the Chicago Public Library, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Poetry Foundation announced yesterday the creation of the city’s inaugural Chicago Poet Laureate Program.

The mayor’s office said the poets selected would serve a two-year term and would be given a $50,000 grant to commission new poems and create a public event series, including programs for youth and students.

The poet will also serve as an ambassador for the city’s literary and creative communities.

Officials said the city’s inaugural Chicago Poet Laureate will be formally appointed in the spring.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times File

Enrollment Online submission can be done till January 18, Nominees may be a poet in the written or oral traditions, but must have “at least four published works and/or performances in established publications”. according to the city’s website, which lists other eligibility requirements. Self-nominations will be accepted.

Nominees will be reviewed according to the eligibility criteria, and those who are eligible will be invited to apply.

The winner will be formally appointed in the spring. In April, which is National Poetry Month, winners will present work as part of the Chicago Public Library’s annual poetry festival

Emmanuel Camarillo has more details on the search here.

from the press box

your daily question☕

Are you participating in Dry January? Tell us why

Send us an email at Newsletters@suntimes.com and we may feature your answer in the next afternoon’s edition.

Yesterday we asked you: How do you feel about the upcoming mayoral election?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Looking forward to casting my vote for Lori again. I believe she is trying her best. Chicago ain’t easy. No one can stop the crime wave. People have to stop themselves. It doesn’t matter who the mayor is. , kimberly gray

“There are really three candidates I can be happy with. Usually, it’s a choice between the worst and the worst.” , mark mardell

“Not optimistic. We did a poor job electing mayors decades ago. The options for this bicycle don’t excite me. It just seems like something else.” , Howard Moore

“I feel overwhelmed because we are not producing viable political talent in this city. It’s not about Mayor Lightfoot; it’s about the lack of options we have for leadership. A political day in Chicago Used to be a powerhouse. Now, it’s an oligarchy. — zeke razby

“I see a lot of candidates but not really a plan of action. Lots of talk, not a lot of talk. I guess it’s just politics? — bob black

“A little overwhelmed because we just finished the midterm elections and now we’re being thrown into another election.” , Jackie Waldier

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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