CPS graduation rate inflated because of reporting flaws: report

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Those graduation rates from Chicago Public Schools that Mayor Rahm Emanuel loves to brag about don’t hold up to scrutiny, an investigation has found.

Emanuel has boasted that seven in 10 Chicago Public Schools students were now graduating high school — but a months-long investigation by the Better Government Association and WBEZ radio found that the oft-cited figure is inflated.

The media organizations obtained CPS records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act show at least 2,200 students from 25 Chicago high schools were counted as “transfers” but should have been classified as “dropouts.”

Those left the CPS system for another district from 2011 to 2014. Transfers aren’t factored into CPS graduation rates, while dropouts are.

Had they been counted as dropouts, that 69.4 percent graduation rate cited by Emanuel, the BGA and WBEZ found, would drop to about 67 percent.

National Public Radio looked at graduation rates in several cities, including the Chicago reporting questions:

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