The pandemic exodus: Kindergarten enrollment drops (subscription)

By: | August 9, 2021

As the pandemic upended life in the United States, more than one million children who had been expected to enroll in these schools did not show up, either in person or online. The missing students were concentrated in the younger grades, with the steepest drop in kindergarten — more than 340,000 students, according to government data.

Now, the first analysis of enrollment at 70,000 public schools across 33 states offers a detailed portrait of these kindergartners. It shows that just as the pandemic lay bare vast disparities in health care and income, it also hardened inequities in education, setting back some of the most vulnerable students before they spent even one day in a classroom.

The analysis by The New York Times in conjunction with Stanford University shows that in those 33 states, 10,000 local public schools lost at least 20 percent of their kindergartners. In 2019 and in 2018, only 4,000 or so schools experienced such steep drops.

Read more from The New York Times.

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