According to The Epoch Times, following a public school growth rate of 3% over the past decade, enrollment in U.S. public schools saw a one-year drop of 1.4 million students in the fall of 2020, hitting a 10-year low of 49.4 million students.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that "declining birthrates, a rise in home schooling, and growing competition from private and charter schools" caused the drop in students between fall 2019 and fall 2020, resulting in school closures nationwide. During the next school year, "enrollment failed to return to pre-pandemic levels and remained roughly flat."
Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman Fellow in Education for The Heritage Foundation, says the increased dissatisfaction with public schools is no secret.
"We have something like 55% of a nationally represented sample saying they're dissatisfied with public schools in the U.S," he relays.
Butcher submits that where public schools stand on the "woke" agenda is a major deciding factor, and The Washington Free Beacon agrees, saying, "The enrollment decline comes as many public schools have taken a sharp turn to teaching left-wing politics. Districts from Washington and Minnesota to Maine and Virginia have implemented 'woke' policies on transgenderism and 'antiracism.'"
"I think that the assigned public schools that are listening to families, I think those schools will fare much better than the schools that double down on these lessons saying that we are all racists or that we all have inherent bias," Butcher continues.
Another factor for the decline in public school enrollments, according to Butcher, is the fact that a plethora of parents are leaving high-tax blue states and moving to red states like Texas and Florida.