Approximately 2 million students have left public schools since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns led to mandated school closures and students being educated online, according to a recently released report. Education Next, a nonpartisan research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced the findings of a report that looked into current trends in education. According to the report, around 2 million fewer students are enrolled in public schools since spring 2020, when the United States enacted pandemic lockdowns. Specifically, researchers found that, from 2020-2022, enrolment in public schools declined from 81% to 76.5%, Christian school enrolment increased from 5% to 7.2%, private school enrolment increased from 8% to 9.7%, and homes-schooling rose from 6% to 6.6%.

“Our polling data indicate that district-operated schools lost 4% of student enrolments to other types of schooling between 2020 and 2022,” said the researchers. “If that percentage is accurate, it means that nearly 2 million students have shifted from traditional public schools to alternative school arrangements.” Although appearing to be a significant drop in enrolment, the report did not consider the decline to be severe. Additionally, the researchers found that. “A wholesale mass exodus from traditional public schools has not occurred,” they stated. “And despite partisan differences in responses to [COVID-19], the parents of children in states both blue and red report less anxiety about their children’s academic and social progress than was the case two years earlier.”

Data for the report was based on a poll conducted in by Ipsos Public Affairs with a total sample of 3,641 respondents, which included 1,857 respondents who had “at least one child living in the respondent’s household who is in a grade from kindergarten through 12th.” Recently, debates surrounding lockdown measures and controversial curriculum content have led many parents to take their children out of public schools and choose alternatives like home-schooling or private education. In September of last year, the National Alliance for Public Schools released a report showing that around 1.4 million children had been taken out of public schools, based on an analysis of the school districts of 41 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, the NAPCS reported that approximately 240,000 students were newly enrolled in public schools, representing a 7% increase compared to 2020.

“It is premature to draw any conclusions about why Christian school enrolment grew while enrolment in district public schools declined. And yet the pattern among states in this report is undeniable,” noted the NAPCS report. “There is much to learn from families who made the switch, and perhaps the biggest lesson for everyone is how critically important Christian schools are to public education.” Earlier this year, the National Catholic Educational Association reported a slight increase in Catholic school enrolment for the 2021-2022 academic year compared to the 2020-2021 academic year. “Enrolment at all types of schools — public, Christian and private — were impacted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Catholic schools’ dedication in safely opening classrooms and supporting their communities’ needs last year is demonstrated in the 3.8% increase in enrolment.”

Source: Christian Post

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