TOO LITTLE TOO LATE? – According to a recent study from the American Enterprise Institute and the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, schools that relied heavily on virtual instruction and masking to combat COVID-19 saw severe declines in enrollment over the past two years.
On the other hand, the study recognized that “districts that returned to in-person more quickly” witnessed far better rates of enrollment recovery.
Of course, most of the contents of this study are not surprising to those who have been paying attention and following the science.
Parents and state representatives have been sounding the alarms over virtual instruction and the masking of children for up to 8 hours per day for years at this point. Arguing that the ramifications of COVID-19 lockdown procedures in schools could be more detrimental than the virus itself for students in the long run.
This study proves just that, reporting that districts with the most virtual classes churned a whopping 4.4% of their students. All while districts that focused more on in-class learning experiences only lost 1.1% of their students.
Notably, the losses for kindergarten and elementary populations were a lot higher – clocking in at 8.1% and 6.2%, respectively.
“The road to recovery for schools will be long, especially for those that were more COVID-cautious,” the study said.
For example, lockdown happy New York saw the worse decline in enrollment of any state at 6%. Oregon and Mississippi, two other big proponents of masking and virtual learning, had drops of around 5%.
All while less COVID restrictive states like South Dakota, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, and Alabama saw net increases in their enrollment.
Additionally, trends in enrollment declines were linked to local voting records. Joe Biden districts have seen 3.8% drops in enrollment, while Donald Trump districts have only seen 1.9% drops. Go figure!
So where are students going instead? In an uplifting turn of events, parents appear to be switching from public schools to homeschooling. This has been on the upward trend ever since COVID-19 started, with The Department of Education citing the largest drop off of public school enrollment in “two decades.”
One report found that homeschooling rates across the country grew between 5.4% and 11% from March 2020 to September 2020 alone. And by the summer of 2021, 5 million American children were being homeschooled.
It’s safe to say that parents are thinking more seriously about the kind of education their children will receive. They are making key decisions to give their families better opportunities – whether that be moving states or switching to homeschooling.
All in all, over-the-top COVID-19 measures are proving to be wildly unpopular with the American people across all political lines. So people are now voicing their frustrations by voting with their feet.