CHICAGO (CBS) — CPS is investigating Benito Juarez High School over questions surrounding attendance numbers and grading policy at the school. The investigation comes six months after the Pilsen school was taken off of probation.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports concerns about changing attendance numbers were brought to officials’ attention last spring, but it wasn’t until now that CPS confirmed the investigator general is looking into it.
Juarez teacher Manny Bermudez is glad some questionable practices at the high school are now under investigation.
“I am tired of our administration telling lies,” said Bermudez.
CPS officials confirmed schools Inspector General Jim Sullivan is looking into allegations Juarez officials are changing attendance numbers – marking students present when in fact they were absent. CBS 2 obtained a letter to investigators from a Juarez teacher stating it happened to her. She writes, “where I marked absent, someone had gone in and changed it.”
“And she’s not the only one who wonders. A couple of other teachers had the same problem,” said Bermudez.
An attendance spike is one reason Juarez was taken off probation last year. But Bermudez says there’s another concern – an accepted grading practice called benchmarking. It allows often-absent and failing students a passing grade if they meet teacher established criteria. A spring 2013 school newsletter stated 730 students were a slash or not passing. That’s almost half of Juarez’s student population. Still, probation was lifted.
CPS spokesperson Joel Hood responds, “CPS is aware of the allegations made by teachers at Juarez …and is cooperating with the Office of the Inspector General on its investigation.”