Chicago Public Schools graduation rates from the past four years were revised down after district officials acknowledged Thursday that the numbers were inflated.
The downward revisions follow recent reporting from WBEZ and the Better Government Association that raised concerns over how the district was classifying dropouts.
The district adjusted the 2013-2014 graduation rate from 69.4 percent to 66.3 percent. With the revisions, graduation rates decreased by between two to three percentage points for each academic year since 2010-2011.
In a statement on the graduation rate revisions, the school district said it "will now code any students who transfer to a GED program, non-CPS alternative or unspecified alternative school or job training program as dropouts."
CPS officials pointed out that student graduation rates are still trending upward.
"The fact that more students have graduated did not change," Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson told WBEZ. "Even with the adjusted rate, we have more students as far as the number."
"We want the people of Chicago to have absolute confidence in their child's schools, and the ability of our schools to provide students with the tools they need to be successful in the classroom," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool added via a statement. "There is no question that CPS' graduation rate is on the rise, thanks to the hard work of our students, parents, teachers and principals - and we will remain focused on making sure every child receives a quality education."
UPDATE 10/02/15: Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia released the following comment in response to the inflated CPS graduation rates that have now been revised:
Yesterday, we learned that the graduation successes touted by CPS and Mayor Emmanuel have simply been untrue. We all know that Chicago faces very serious challenges, and I very much want us to come together with solutions that will put the City on course to great successes. But, I am deeply troubled by the persistent tendency of the administration in City Hall and CPS to mislead and deceive. It is impossible to come up with real solutions if the problems remain veiled and are kept in the shadows. I have supported, and continue to support, an elected school board to shine a bright light on CPS and to make it accountable to the citizens of Chicago and not to the 5th floor of City Hall. Yesterday's report on how CPS fits the "facts" to the narrative that it wants to tell is simply another example of why we need to free the schools of direct mayoral control.