California public schools see record enrollment dive

California public schools saw the steepest enrollment declines on record during the pandemic, with the loss of 155,000 students. That’s five times the typical annual rate of decline.

We don’t know which districts or grades were most heavily affected. We should know this spring when the state releases more detailed data. Likely causes include parents withholding their children from kindergarten, frustrated students dropping out of distance learning, and more families opting for homeschooling or private school.

K-12 public school enrollment has been declining for the past decade, but the numbers this past year are unprecedented. 

The question now is “how do we get as many students back as quickly as possible and safely,” John Affeldt, managing attorney of Public Advocates, told California Public Radio.

“And when we do bring students back, how do we make sure we’re addressing the lost instructional time that they suffered in really interesting and engaging ways for the students and addressing their social and emotional mental health needs.”