Chart of the Day: Americans are Fleeing Public Schools

Contact Your Elected Officials

In reality, education is changing dramatically in America – Americans are fleeing public schools.

The pandemic has supercharged a trend that has plagued districts across the US for years – students are fleeing public schools. This is important because public schools lose funding as they lose students, and some schools have been forced to shutter altogether. Here are a couple of anecdotal pieces of evidence of the trend.

  • “The school board in Jefferson County, Colo., outside Denver, voted in November to close 16 schools. St. Paul, Minn., last summer closed five schools. The Oakland, Calif., school board last February voted to close seven schools after years of declining enrollment and financial strife.”
  • According to a fiscal watchdog funded by the city, enrollment in New York City’s public schools, the country’s largest school district, dropped by 8.3% from 2020 to 2022.

Public schools lost more than a million students from fall 2019 to fall 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Enrollment fell from 50.8 million to 49.4 million. See below in the chart the enrollment trend by state and learn more here.

As a result, private schools and charter schools gained students. The number of homeschooled students doubled to about 5 million.

Recent polling results suggest that enrollment gains during the school year 2021 were indicative of a larger trend and that private schools gained students between the end of the 2020–21 academic year and the start of 2021–22.

See this in the chart below and learn more here.

The question turns to why. Here are a few reasons – perhaps you can think of more.

  • During COVID, many schools had heavy restrictions and dramatically started this trend. However, most Covid restrictions are over, and yet the trend continues.
  • Crime in the inner cities has caused the learning environment to be problematic – causing many to flee these public schools.
  • Wokeism (e.g., CRT and what many feel are inappropriate sex education agendas) has infiltrated many school systems, and many parents are fleeing its indoctrination.

Gives in the comment section below any additional evidence you may have of this trend.

See more Chart of the Day posts.

By Tom Williams

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