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WATCH: Where Are The Kids? Understanding Why Enrollment Is Dropping

April 21, 2021

As America’s public schools have grappled with ongoing school re-opening debates, parents have simultaneously taken a more active role in determining which educational experiences work better for their children. Some have moved to different school districts; others have pulled their kids out of schools in favor of homeschooling, virtual charters or private schools.

For traditional district-run public schools, this “disenrollment” trend has raised a host of concerns, as most state school funding formulas are based on enrollment stats.

“There are 2 groups of kids disappearing from schools due to COVID: the missing, who face obstacles to online learning, and the gone, for whom the transition away might be permanent,” says Hailly Korman of Bellwether Partners.

Korman was among the expert panelists convened by The 74 and the Progressive Policy Institute to discuss the impact of disenrollment during the pandemic. Joining her were Colorado State Senator James Coleman, Ray Ankrum of Riverhead Charter Schools, Keri Rodrigues of the National Parents Union and senior reporter Linda Jacobson of The 74. Curtis Valentine of PPI moderated the discussion.

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74 Interview: National Parent Union’s Keri Rodrigues on Public School Disenrollment Amid the COVID Crisis

While reflecting on some of the innovations that have been put in place to deter disenrollment in the city of Denver, State Senator Coleman said, “School choice helped Denver have the lowest drop in enrollment rates in Colorado.” Coleman, himself a parent, goes on to say, “Choice helped us survive the initial shock from the pandemic, and we will continue to listen to parents and students about what is best for them going forward.”

Watch the full panel above.

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