According to the latest report from the inspector general for Chicago Public Schools, some school administrators faked data to pad the school’s enrollment.

Jim Sullivan, the district’s inspector general, says the trend has been a particularly troubling development in recent years. 

From the Chicago Tribune:

“We do have a concern about CPS data as evidenced by the cases we had this year,” said Jim Sullivan, who’s been the district’s inspector general for nearly 11 years. “The system has incentivized how performance is evaluated based on data, and much of that data is created and can be manipulated at the school level.”

Sullivan’s latest annual report, issued earlier this month, revealed that a high school principal and her programmer created “ghost students” to pad enrollment so the school would be eligible for an assistant principal and additional non-teaching staff. Also uncovered was an elementary school principal who changed grades to allow children to graduate. […]

Over the years the office, which investigates allegations of waste, fraud and financial mismanagement at CPS, has uncovered scandals, including $800,000 in illicit expenditures by two former board presidents for travel, office artwork and charity donations.

Read more at Chicago Tribune

The inspector general’s report details cases of fraudulent applications for free and reduced-price lunch and falsified data by principals on their own children’s forms.

The falsified documents helped financially strapped schools earn state and federal funds. Sullivan cited increased pressure to fudge numbers due to an increase in the tracking of schools, teachers and principals.

CPS says systems are in place to catch data manipulation, and refers to the trend as rare.

How can we better improve CPS?

Do you expect to see more reports of fraudulent activity come to light regarding Chicago Public Schools?

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