Public School Enrollment Down; Private & Homeschool Numbers Up

Public school enrollment down; private & homeschool numbers up

Public school enrollment has continued to decline, more than three years after schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report in Education Slice. Public schools in the United States lost more than one million students between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The decline has since stabilized but those students have not returned to public school classrooms.

The trend holds true across the U.S. In Illinois, public schools lost more than 100,000 students between the 2019-2020 school year and the 2022-2023 school year. In Virginia, public schools are still more than 30,000 students below 2019 enrollment levels. In California, experiencing a sharp population decline, public schools have lost more than 200,000 students since the pandemic began.

The drop in enrolled students has immediate impacts on the functions of schools and school districts, because states use enrollment data to allocate funding to schools. The declines have coincided with an increase in private and homeschool enrollment. This accounts for where some of the former public school students have gone. After seeing an initial decline in enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year, Catholic schools too have rebounded and have added more than 70,000 students over the past two years.

Education Slice

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