Analysis: Where did all the public school students go?

It is no secret that public schools are facing dwindling enrollment. They have been for years. However, the pandemic greatly exacerbated that trend. But those kids had to go somewhere… So where are they? A new analysis out of the Urban Institute seeks to answer that question:

“In the 2021–22 school year, private school enrollment was 4 percent higher while homeschool enrollment was 30 percent higher” said Thomas S. Dee, author of the study. “DC and the 21 states that had available data showed increased homeschool enrollment during the pandemic.”

Even though alternative forms of schooling were able to account for some of the decline, there are still many students unaccounted for:

“More than a third of the loss in public school enrollment cannot be explained by corresponding gains in private school and homeschool enrollment and by demographic change.”

Read the full report here.

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