Conservatives Blame ‘Diversity’ for $23 Million in Missing Electronics

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 22, 2024

Chicago has become the center of attention for the loss of $23 million worth of electronics in its public schools.

This loss includes laptops, iPads, and other devices, which has raised concerns about the management of public funds and initiated a debate, with some conservatives suggesting that the city’s emphasis on diversity might be influencing these losses.

Over 77,000 Devices Unaccounted For

According to Fox News, the Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools reported that during the 2021–22 school year, 77,505 tech devices were lost or stolen.

An outdoor work setup on a wooden table featuring an open laptop on the left and a tablet on the right, both displaying content on their screens. In the middle lies an open notebook with a green pen

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This figure includes a wide range of equipment such as laptops, iPads, Wi-Fi hot spots, printers, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards. The total loss is estimated at over $23 million, highlighting a serious issue within the school system.

A Hefty Investment with Little Return

In spite of investing over $124 million on technology assets, the Chicago schools have faced significant losses.

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The fiscal year 2023 report calls these numbers “unacceptably high” and demands a serious overhaul of the district’s inventory and oversight processes, especially after the first post-COVID-19 inventory assessment.

Linking Diversity to Tech Losses

The Independent News reports that some conservative groups are attributing the extensive loss of technology to the city’s focus on diversity.

A screenshot of a post on X that reads “Chicago is a very diverse city, diversity means anything can be stolen will be stolen. An emphasis on diversity over merit gets us these situations.”

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They argue that prioritizing diversity over merit and effective management may lead to such issues.

Criticism Over City Management

The Independent News notes that some critics argue that Chicago is one of the worst-run cities in the United States, especially in light of the $23 million loss in school electronics.

A screenshot of a tweet by Paul A. Szypula with an American flag emoji next to the name. The tweet criticizes the management of the city of Chicago, labeling it as 'the worst run city in the US.' It questions the lack of consequences for the loss of $23 million in electronics given to children, expressing disbelief over the absence of accountability for politicians compared to ordinary people

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There is a growing concern that this loss represents a misuse of taxpayer dollars, primarily contributed by the city’s residents.

Taxpayer Dilemma: The Cost of Replacing Lost Technology

With the Chicago Public Schools facing a budget deficit, there are increasing anxieties about the financial implications of replacing the lost devices.

An image of a modern, open laptop on a wooden desk. The laptop screen displays an assortment of application icons along the bottom, suggesting work in progress. To the right of the laptop is a white mouse

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According to CBS News, the use of taxpayer dollars for this purpose is a significant point of contention, especially given the scale of the losses.


A Matter of Responsibility, Says Inspector General

CBS News reports that CPS Inspector General Will Fletcher said: “You can’t pin this on COVID. You can pin this on students who are just taking devices and not returning them.”

Close-up of a person's hands typing on a laptop keyboard. The individual's fingers are captured in motion, suggesting active typing

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The lack of consequences for not returning these devices seems to have contributed to the high number of losses reported.


A Total Loss in Multiple Schools

In an alarming revelation, it was found that at three dozen schools, all tech devices assigned to students were marked as lost or stolen.

In a classroom setting, students are seated at desks preparing for an exam. In the foreground, the backs of students are visible as they review materials. A teacher stands confidently at the front of the room, wearing a blue vest and glasses, overseeing the class. On the whiteboard behind, the rules 'NO Cheating!!! NO Cell Phones' and 'EXAM Today @ 10 am' are written

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CBS News details that this represents 27% of the district’s tech assets, indicating a systemic issue across various schools.


Neglected Tracking System: A Missed Opportunity for Oversight

CPS had a tracking system in place, worth about $2.5 million, but it was underutilized.

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Inspector General Fletcher said, “The district spends about two and a half million dollars on software that’s meant to track and locate devices, but the district just wasn’t using that software.”


Financial Strains and the Need for Transparent Management

Erykah Nava from Raise Your Hand, a parent advocacy group, emphasized the importance of efficient and transparent financial management (via CBS News).

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With the end of federal aid and pandemic funds in 2025, CPS faces additional budget pressures, making effective management even more crucial.


CPS' Response

CBS News notes that in response to the losses, Chicago Public Schools has begun implementing changes based on the inspector general’s recommendations.

This image shows two students diligently working on laptops in a classroom setting. Behind the students is a large, blank blackboard

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These include improving inventory training, setting up an amnesty period for the return of lost assets, and enforcing accountability for assigned tech devices.


CPS' Commitment to Integrity and Resource Protection

CBS News reports that a statement was released addressing the issue.

This image shows a blurred teacher writing on a chalkboard, to the right of the image you can see the arm of a person, presumably a student who is texting on a cell phone

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A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said, “As a District, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) take seriously our responsibility to protect the safety of our staff, students and families and to serve our CPS community with integrity, and protect our investments and resources.”