Valerie Richardson of the Washington Times explains the decreases in K-12 public school enrollment nationwide: “Where are the students going? Indications are that those frustrated with virtual classroom experience have sought private, charter or home school, while others may have taken a coronavirus gap year.” In Saint Paul, Verges says, “It will be months before state data becomes available to show where those students went, but private schools have reported increased interest from families wanting face-to-face classes. The St. Paul district began the year with distance learning at all grades.”
From Saint Paul’s twin city of Minneapolis to rural, urban, and suburban districts across the country, public school systems are witnessing a dramatic drop in students and in the per-pupil funding they bring with them.
The coronavirus poses a difficult challenge for parents and schools alike trying to balance keeping children healthy and providing them with the best possible education. But even if their intentions are personal rather than political, by keeping their children out of public school this year, parents with the means to do so are also fulfilling a longstanding dream of politicians on both the right and the left, where families are able to pick from a full menu of school choice options rather than simply attend their local public school.
Many prominent Republicans and Democrats have embraced school choice as the preferred, up-by-the-bootstraps remedy for structural inequality since at least the 1990s, when the Clinton administration proudly declared it was working to “support the growth of public charter schools.” At the time, there were around 2,000 charters in the United States.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction