Non-partisan national news site Newsy asked Partnership Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee to join them for analysis of the sudden drop in public school enrollment in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
COVID has caused one of the most significant disruptions in K12 education that we have ever seen—certainly in our lifetime. And mitigation strategies from school closures to remote learning shook things up in ways we didn’t predict and that we’re still trying to understand.
The shift is significant—particularly the decline in enrollment in public schools–for a number of reasons. When you look at the national public school enrollment numbers, they are remarkably stable from year to year…what this is telling us is that parents are voting with their feet or making different decisions today like no time in modern history…
When you look at the enrollment declines in public schools and the corresponding increases for instance in Catholic schools…it is driven largely by the youngest students. There were dramatic increases in preK, in Kindergarten, and in early childhood education…These shifts are being driven by parents who are making decisions about education for the first time, which is a hint that it could be here to say. But it is probably too early to say definitively.
While we talk about trends nationally, we experience them locally.
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