Public school enrollment drops, especially among youngest students

An American University policy researcher published a piece on The Conversation citing early evidence from a National Public Radio survey of 60 school districts across 20 states. That survey found that school enrollment dropped in fall 2020, with declines in public kindergarten enrollment averaging 16 percent. The author notes that health concerns, limited in-person options, wariness of virtual kindergarten, and family constraints around work and child care have likely all contributed. While delayed or forgone kindergarten isn’t necessarily harmful—particularly if families are able to substitute this time with high-quality at-home learning—for children with more at-home stressors and material hardship, missed school can widen existing inequalities in early education. In addition, decreased enrollment has implications for schools, including reductions in public funds allocated on a per-child basis and a larger 2021-2022 kindergarten cohort who may require intensive supports. #covid-19 #education

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