Public K-12 schools in the United States experienced a loss of roughly 1.1 million students in the fall of 2020, research finds.
Districts that began the school year with remote-only schooling had significantly larger enrollment declines than those that offered face-to-face schooling, report the researchers from Stanford University and the New York Times.
Many families switched to private schools where classes were still held in person, took up homeschooling, or—especially those with kindergartners—just skipping a formal school year entirely.
In a new study, researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Big Local News, a project of the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab, examine the extent to which the enrollment decline was influenced by school districts’ decisions to hold classes in person or go remote.
The team at Stanford worked with journalists at the New York Times on a major report published August 7, which analyzed the enrollment drop at 70,000 public schools across the United States. EdSource, a nonprofit media organization covering education in California, and the nonprofit Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) also participated in the project.
Here, Thomas S. Dee, professor at the GSE and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, shares more about how the collaboration came about, what the team discovered, and why the findings are important as districts prepare for the beginning of a new school year:
Source: Stanford University