Federal data confirm MN public school enrollment down 17,000 students

Federal data released Monday revealed Minnesota K-12 public school enrollment dropped by 2.36 percent — roughly 17,000 students — in 2020 compared with the previous school year, according to The 74.

This matches up with the yearly fall enrollment report the Minnesota Department of Education released in February that I wrote about here, which stated public school enrollment dropped by 17,234 students.

The MDE also noted that homeschool enrollment increased by 10,254 students compared to fall 2019, amounting to a 50 percent increase. Private school enrollment increased by 481 students, or 0.7 percent. Kindergarten enrollment in public schools also declined, with 5,888 fewer students registering, or a nine percent drop. Kindergarten enrollment in private schools was up 672 students, or 12 percent. Among older students, public high school enrollment grew by two percent and private high school enrollment declined by four percent.

The federal data, from the National Center for Education Statistics, places Minnesota 23rd nationwide in student enrollment loss.

Several contributing factors have caused families in Minnesota to switch learning environments — from lack of in-person instruction and frustration over a distance learning model to concerns about the lesson content and political ideology they were seeing in their children’s education.

Nationwide, total K-12 enrollment dropped by roughly three percent, or around 1.5 million students. Pre-kindergarten enrollment experienced the most dramatic drop at 22 percent.

Source: The 74