The pandemic has definitely brought unprecedented shifts in perspectives on school education.
The US is reeling under the effects of the pandemic and schools have been shut, a phased reopening was proposed in several states but the parents are still apprehensive about sending their children to schools.
The US when compared to India, is better placed to implement online instruction yet the children feel the monotony of the virtual mode and the burden of the worksheets devoid of interaction. There are reports of deterioration of learning outcomes from many quarters.
The parents have been much more involved with the children’s education and may have switched to homeschooling resulting in a fall in the enrolment rates of K-12 schools.
According to the analysis of data from 33 states obtained by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press public K-12 enrolment, this fall has dropped by 2 percent as compared to last year. The figure translates into around 500,000 fewer enrollments this year.
The numbers will naturally come out as higher when all 50 states are taken into account. The general enrollment trend in the US was that of a rise of .5 percent every year. The results of such a decline will be an impact on the school budgets.
The educators and the school promoters have expressed concern and observed that if the enrollment does not rise, the funding will become a challenge difficult to contend with. Some even indicate that it is a national crisis in the making.
The decline in the numbers is driven by a host of factors including a lower enrollment in Kindergarten and children leaving schools and switching to online schools or homeschooling and the children being removed for prolonged absenteeism.
The biggest driver of the downward spiral is, however, the fall in the enrollment rates in the kindergarten which is not mandated in many states, parents simply chose to skip it this year.
It is to be noted that it is hard to account for all the children missing from the public schools’ rolls. There is no conclusive data to suggest if the students have shifted to private schools or homeschooling.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.