California Public School Enrollment Drops Another 110,000 Students – Fifth Straight Drop

Across California, state figures showed K-12 enrollment fell by 160,000 students in 2020, representing a 3% drop and the largest drop in enrollment in twenty years. reported the Globe last fall in October.

The Los Angeles Times is now reporting that California public school enrollment has fallen by more than 110,000 students in 2021 – “as K-12 campuses battle pandemic disruptions and dwindling student populations. school-aged children amid concerns the decline is so great that educators cannot account for missing children.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, enrollment fell by 27,000 students last year, a decline of nearly 6%. the Los Angeles Times noted at the time that this percentage drop “is three times what planners for the nation’s second-largest school district predicted.”

Even more worrisome for the future of mainstream public schools is falling enrollment among the country’s youngest students.

Predictably, California lawmakers and their teacher union bosses are proposing to make kindergarten compulsory to increase their inventory of billable students.

Ed Source reported:

“State Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, champions a bill to make kindergarten mandatory while Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, introduced legislation that would require school districts to provide full-time kindergarten. Although both proposals have already been advanced, if these two laws are passed, they would fundamentally redefine and expand key aspects of the kindergarten experience.

EdSource even doubled down on its propaganda:

“Making kindergarten mandatory will help close the state’s achievement gap, advocates say, because some children who skip kindergarten struggle to catch up to their peers. Children from low-income families are entering school with fewer academic skills than their more advantaged classmates, a problem accentuated by the pandemic.

This is obviously false. Lance Izumi, director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, said in January of the governor’s proposal to dramatically expand early childhood programs, “research from other states is waving warning flags. . A Vanderbilt University study of the Tennessee pre-kindergarten program found that participants had lower test scores and had greater discipline problems than students who did not participate in the program. The study concluded that the results “offer a cautionary tale about expecting too much from the state’s pre-K programs.” This is a warning that California should take seriously.

Notably, Izumi also told The Globe that Finnish children beat American students in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7 years old.

The LATimes blames the pandemic for the lost listings, despite five years of lost listings:

“While public school enrollment has trended downward since 2014-15, state education officials have largely blamed the pandemic for the plummeting numbers over the past two years. This year’s drop, which includes charter schools, follows a huge enrollment hit in the 2020-21 school year, when the state saw the biggest drop in 20 years, with 160,000 students. In March 2020, the pandemic shut down campuses in California and across the country, forcing schools to engage in distance learning, many for nearly a year.

Izumi said the pandemic and subsequent school closures are responsible for huge learning losses among American children:

“According to McKinsey researchers, students were on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading at the end of the 2021 school year. student demographic groups.

“In math, students in majority African-American schools finished the year with six months of unfinished learning, while students in low-income schools suffered seven months of learning loss. Additionally, the study found that “high school students have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to pursue post-secondary education.”

Parents realized they had a choice in education during the pandemic. According to statistics released by the California Department of Education in 2021, homeschooling in California continued to grow in the 2020-2021 school year, reaching record highs of students learning from home, the Globe reported. . The number of new homeschooling affidavits filed by parents with the California DOE has nearly tripled in recent years, from 14,548 in the 2018-2019 school year, to 22,433 in 2019-2020. and 34,715 in 2020-2021. An additional 3,215 affidavits for private schools with 6 or more students were also filed in 2020-21, another significant increase from previous years.

Charter schools have been such a threat to teachers’ unions that in 2020 and again in 2021 the Governor and Legislature sought to defund public charters and prevent them from being opened. The funding was in Senate California Budget Bill 98 and AB 1316, drafted by Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), and supported by the California Teachers Association, which handles expenses for K-12 education, and denies funding to students newly enrolled in a public school.

Izumi says that during the pandemic, chronic absenteeism in California has increased dramatically. Chronic absenteeism is defined as students who miss 10% or more of school days.

“In Stockton, around four in 10 students were chronically absent in the 2020-21 school year, more than double the rate two years ago.

Among Oakland elementary students, 37% were chronically absent, more than two and a half times the rate two years ago.

And even in the Sacramento County suburb of Elk Grove, a quarter of students are chronically absent, three times as many as two years ago. The state and school districts sought to hide their failures by changing the rules so students could graduate with fewer units. In some districts, you can graduate with about half of the normally required credits. Additionally, districts are effectively eliminating the distribution of failing grades to students.

Izumi said Oakland has limited Ds and Fs. So has Los Angeles and other neighborhoods. An Oakland teacher said, “Failing to report Ds and Fs is tantamount to lying about a student’s progress.”

And the California Department of Education doesn’t track how many students graduate with fewer credits, Izumi said.

With this record, who would want to entrust their kindergarten to state classrooms?

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