Zombies popular at City Colleges? Crain's exposes how Rahm's propagandists inflate 'graduation rates' at City Colleges of Chicago -- by graduating the dead... 'In 2013, City Colleges adopted a 'posthumous degree' program that made dead alums eligible for a degree or certificate'...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman have raised the "graduate rate" at City Colleges by graduating the dead, among other cheap tricks, since Rahm continued the former corporate executive as head of one of America's largest college systems. Hymean had no experience in higher education before she was appointed to lead the City Colleges. "Hyman began working at Commonwealth Edison as a development analyst, then rose to become the company's director of government and legislative affairs," her entry on Wikipedia states. "After 14 years at the company, she was chosen by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to lead the City Colleges of Chicago as Chancellor." She continued her work at City College under Emanuel. Just when you thought you might have heard the most outrageous story about Chicago corruption, just when the latest stories about Barbara Byrd Bennett are briefly out of the headlines, Rahm Emanuel and his team of spin-masters gets exposed, again, for fraud. For decades, Chicago has been known as a place where the dead can continue voting (as long as nobody catches up with who is on the Voter Registration lists). Richard Nixon charged that Richard J. Daley and his precinct captains "stole" part of the 1960 presidential election for John F. Kennedy by voting the dead in the infamous "river wards" of Chicago.

But that was in 1960.

In 2015, according to the latest edition of Crain's Chicago Business, a new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is inflating other important "data" by having his City Colleges leadership team graduate the dead and count every corpse to inflate the claims by Rahm that things are getting better all the time in the city where there are enough murders that someone probably needs to issue diplomas to the deceased.


How City Colleges inflates graduation rates, By STEVEN R. STRAHLER, Crain's Chicago Business

City Colleges of Chicago has its own version of “The Walking Dead.” Call it the Graduating Dead.

The seven-campus school system is combing records for dropouts, including deceased ones, who may qualify for two-year diplomas, part of an all-out hunt to boost lagging graduation rates and polish a centerpiece of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's education agenda.

In 2013, City Colleges adopted a “posthumous degree” program that made dead alums eligible for a degree or certificate, provided they had fulfilled three-fourths of the requirements. “This policy can be administered retroactively and applies also to students who have died prior to the effective date of this policy,” City Colleges documents say.

The push also relies on “reverse transfer” credits, which allow nongraduates who move to four-year institutions to qualify for City Colleges degrees. According to minutes of a trustees' committee meeting last year, then-Provost Vernese Edghill-Walden said about 500 degrees had been issued under the program in the 2013-14 school year; that's more than 10 percent of the 4,322 degrees awarded by City Colleges that year and close to the number (777) of full-time students who graduated.

Edghill-Walden, now an administrator at Northern Illinois University, says that during her two-year tenure as provost and chief academic officer, just two students who died before graduation got diplomas. She won't discuss efforts to harvest names of former students for posthumous diplomas. “I had major concerns about this,” she says.

City Colleges says it awarded 1,410 retroactive degrees during the last two academic years, more than twice the 626 in the prior four years, and only three posthumous degrees total. In addition, 53 reverse-transfer degrees were issued over the past two years. “We stand behind these automatically awarded degrees, which account for less than 0.3 (of a) percentage point in our official graduation rate for the 2014-15 school year,” City Colleges says in a statement.

-- Emanuel also has touted rising graduation rates at Chicago Public Schools during his tenure. But earlier this month CPS conceded the increase had been exaggerated by undercounting dropouts.

The mayor and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman have pointed to soaring graduation rates as validation of an ongoing turnaround plan dubbed Reinvention, which incorporates a “college to careers” emphasis on vocational training. In the six most recent academic years, full-time student graduation rates more than doubled, to 17 percent from 7 percent. The gain for all students was more modest: a 27 percent increase. The average graduation rate at community colleges nationally is 20 percent.

Some faculty members otherwise pleased by this trend contend the administration fails to disclose the creative accounting involved. “The big asterisk would probably be appropriate,” suggests Julius Nadas, a math and sciences professor at Wright College on the Northwest Side. “Anybody knows these (numbers) are not sustainable.”

After three semesters at Wright, Nadas' son Tas transferred in 2003 to Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Two years later, nearing a bachelor's degree in English and philosophy, he sought a Wright diploma via reverse-transfer credits. Wright told him he remained one course short (in speech), he says.

By summer 2014, when Wright's alumni office contacted Tas Nadas about featuring him as a graduate success story, the attitude of City Colleges had shifted. He got his diploma. “They were righting a wrong, from my perspective, and not simply inflating the numbers,” says Tas Nadas, a Cleveland Clinic senior project manager and a city council candidate in suburban Cleveland. “There are different points of view on this,” he acknowledges.


Last year, Paula Wolff, then-chair of City Colleges' board of trustees, raised questions about the practice. At a meeting of the committee on academic affairs, she wondered whether “retroactive degrees and reverse transfer is done nationally,” according to minutes. Edghill-Walden replied that it wasn't common and that City Colleges had “taken the lead.”

Edghill-Walden, named NIU's chief diversity officer in July, says in an interview that her characterization applied more to the mechanics of the process. “I think we were trying to take the lead in creating a system for how to effectively do the reverse-transfer process. Everyone's trying to work through that,” she says. Wolff, no longer a trustee, declines to comment.

Officials at DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, two prime destinations for City Colleges transfers, say reverse transfer is a complex process that has to be driven by the student and coordinated by registrars. Lois Bishop, director of community college partnerships at DePaul, estimates that 92 or 93 percent of community college transfers to DePaul are within three courses of qualifying for a two-year degree.

Among other graduation-rate boosters adopted by City Colleges is “automatic conferral,” which dishes out a diploma “if all requirements for that degree have been met, even if the student has not applied for graduation.” (Students, though, must sign up for the plan.)

Sheldon Liebman, who chairs Wright's humanities department, cites other relaxed standards, including dropping a foreign language requirement last year. Also at work, he says, is a catch-all general studies program that allows ex post facto degrees to be cobbled together more easily for former students like Nadas.

City Colleges says it ended the language requirement to improve student transfer opportunities to places like DePaul that don't make it a prerequisite for a degree.

Other schools are awarding retroactive degrees. Harper College in Palatine has given degrees to five former students, three who went on to NIU and two who went on to DePaul. As it adds reverse-transfer pacts with other universities, it expects the number to rise. But it never has bestowed a degree posthumously, spokeswoman Kimberly Pohl says.


October 23, 2015 at 8:15 AM

By: Bob Busch


Graduation rate

Here is how one school increased their graduation rate. A senior had

flunked one semester of geometry during their Sophomore year.

On the last day of April a counselor brings this kid to a Geometry class

And tells the teacher you have a new student.

The prom was three weeks away, and graduation less than five weeks.

Later that day the counselor returns to explain that the kids needs a grade

to graduate , what kind of “extra credit” could the teacher arrange to provide

this miracle! Even after all kinds of administrators took a crack at the teacher

they said this kid could not learn enough in a month to pass. The next day the kid

winds up in a different Geometry class and low and behold graduates on time.

Not one word was mentioned about this kid learning geometry. What a world.

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