Wednesday, July 8, 2015

CPS Grade and Attendance Manipulation

The Atlantic recently published an essay about CPS titled What Schools Will Do to Keep Students on Track.

Highlights that outline CPS attendance manipulation:
  • At Manley High School, students frequently skip first and last periods...The records show that administrators frequently change absences marked by teachers as "unexcused" to "school function." This change marks the child as present, boosting attendance data.  Even with the school function changes, nearly 60% of the students had unexcused absences from more than 100 classes each.
  • At Juarez High School, one student accumulated unexcused absence marks in 381 separate classes, amounting to 54 school days.  The student's transcript showed just 21 unexcused absence days.
Highlights that outline CPS grade manipulation:
  • Many teachers across Chicago fear the new grading policies - with names like "standards-based-grading" and "no zero grading" make passing too easy.
  • At Manley, some students refuse to work until the very end of the quarter - in some cases just cutting class - when teachers must give them a make-up packet.
Rationalizations for data manipulation:
  • "If kids get away with something in adolescence and still on on to graduate high school, that's a good thing."  -Sarah Duncan, University of Chicago's Network for College Success; Harvard grad and sister of Arne Duncan
  • "When you go to elite schools, they won't let you fail.  Why don't kids in public schools, poor kids, deserve a chance?" -Liz Kirby, CPS Network 11 Chief
Ms. Duncan's rationalizations remind us of the Tribune's recent congratulations to Englewood for producing no shootings during the recent 4th of July weekend.  Of course, the lack of shootings in Englewood was a result of a massive police saturation, with CPD officers working back-to-back 12 hour shifts and days-off cancelled.

As for Ms. Kirby's claim that at elite schools "they" won't let you fail, we wonder: Which schools is she referring to?  And who are the "they"?

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