To No One's Surprise, California Public School Enrollment Dropped Like a Stone

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

CalMatters reported Friday,

California’s public schools lost more than 160,000 students amid the pandemic, the largest enrollment drop in two decades and a likely harbinger of serious educational and financial challenges.

The sharp 2.6% decline, announced Thursday by the California Department of Education, doesn’t capture the full effects of the pandemic. The enrollment tally comes from a one-day headcount in October and doesn’t include students who may have left the public school system afterward. But the drop is already steeper than the 155,000-student decline state officials were projecting in January. And it’s disproportionately affecting the state’s youngest students: 88% of the drop occurred in kindergarten to sixth grade, while public preschool enrollment fell by more than 6,000 students.

The Associated Press via Fox LA put the causation thusly,

The drop came as the state’s school districts dawdled in bringing children back to the classroom, making California one of the slowest in the country to reopen schools.

This is a nice way of saying that the California Teachers Unions held parents and students hostage while they made demands for social justice contingent on their return. Demands like funding BLM, and Defunding the Police. While doing this, they still collected bonuses for teaching 45-minute Zoom classes, and maligned parents who wanted their children to actually be taught in person.

But do soft peddle, AP.

The California Department of Education data shows that the number of students at K-12 schools dropped by more than 160,000 this academic year, most of them at the K-6 level, to a total of 6 million.

The drop is by far the biggest decline in years and represents the clearest picture yet of the pandemic’s devastating toll on California public schools.

It never ceases to amaze me how the amorphous “pandemic” is to blame, as opposed to the policies set in place by Governor Gavin Newsom, who has long been beholden to the teachers unions. Newsom’s COVID-19 policies that have kept children out of in-person learning has resulted in lawsuit after lawsuit, the most recent being one for personal injury to children. After all the suicides and diminished progress of senior students who should be on their way to graduation, this one appears to have legs.

All while his own children have been getting an in-person education. His hypocrisy is not just flagrant, but callous and chilling.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle,

It’s unclear how many students moved out of state, transferred to private schools, opted to homeschool this year or just stopped attending.

The data is from the one-day annual enrollment snapshot in October. It does not include any students who might have left the public system since, numbers that won’t be publicly available until the fall.

We have not seen the end of this, as parents weigh their educational options, and also continue to leave the State. While private and charter school enrollment is seeing a boost, more California parents have opted out of a public school system that does not have the best interest of their children in mind.