CHICAGO — The Chicago Public Schools watchdog office released an annual report of wrongdoing associated with the schools, alleging parents claimed fraudulent addresses to attend the city's best schools, students who dropped out were purposely counted as "homeschooled" and staff downloaded pornography on district property.
The Office of the Inspector General said it received 1,356 complaints about alleged misconduct, opening investigations in 223 cases.
Among the allegations in the report:
• From at least 2007 to 2014, unnamed CPS high school administrators "falsified student records by deliberately misclassifying hundreds of students" who were chronically truant, could not be located, or dropped out of school. By classifying these students as "transferred" or "homeschooled," the schools kept their official dropout rates low.
The reporter alleged that between 2009 to 2014, up to 50 percent of all transfers out of school were categorized as becoming "homeschooled."
The watchdog's report focused on specific high school, Archer Heights' Curie High School, which was highlighted in a summer Sun-Times editorial that said that since 2011 "more than 100 students every year . . . supposedly transferred out to be homeschooled."
The former principal was interviewed by the watchdog office, according to the report and explained that he instructed his staff to classify students who could not be found as "homeschooled," because of a change in the coding system. He also added he was pressured by his bosses "to come up with stuff" to raise school attendance.
Neither the principal nor the watchdog office found a student from the school who transferred to home school. The district claimed a record-high student attendance rate of 93.4 percent during the previous school year
CPS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, CPS officials admitted graduation rates between 2011 and 2014 were lower than officially advertised.
• The parents of eight suburban students were found to have lied about where they lived in order for their children to gain admission to five Chicago Public Schools selective-enrollment institutions.
• Families claiming they lived in low-income "tier" neighborhoods, giving them a leg up in selective-enrollment schools. The parents of some of these families include CPS teachers.
• An owner of a vending company improperly gave $500 in cash to a facilities manager for a charter network.
• Separate incidents in which a teacher and a special education classroom assistant used CPS computers to watch pornography.
Here's the 88-page report:
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