According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, school enrollment fell by almost 3 million students in its first year of the coronavirus epidemic. This is the largest drop in over two decades.
This decline in enrollment, which fell from 76 million students in 2019 down to 73 million in 2018, was due to steep drops in enrollment among preschoolers and two-year college students. The enrollment rate for elementary school students was about 32 million and high school students was about 16 million respectively.
Preschool is an option, but schooling is mandatory for students in elementary and high schools. Andrew Bacher-Hicks is an assistant professor of educational policy at Boston University. He said that the drop in preschool enrollment is a reflection of the reality faced by many parents who were forced to make a decision about whether the benefits of preschool were worth the risk in the midst of a pandemic.
Bacher-Hicks stated that parents may have concerns about sending their young children to school if they are unable to vaccinate them. On the other hand, parents may be concerned about sending their 4-year-old child to virtual pre-K if it is all virtual.
According to census data, the national kindergarten enrollment fell by 9 percent from 4.1 million to 3.7 million in 2019. This drop in preschool enrollment was much greater: it fell from 4.7 million down to 3.5million, a decrease by 25 percent.
When you take into account race and ethnicity, Hispanic students saw the greatest decline in pre-K enrollment at 33%, while white students experienced the lowest at 20%. Black enrollment fell by 28 per cent, while Asian student enrollment declined by 32 percent.