New Report: Charter School Enrollment Patterns Are Holding Steady Through the Pandemic
Three-year data shows that since the start of the pandemic, student enrollment gains in charter schools held steady while enrollment losses in district-run public schools also remained constant. Florida saw the nation’s 2nd highest charter sector growth with 32,720 additional students since the beginning of the pandemic.
Three-year data shows that since the start of the pandemic, enrollment gains in charter schools held steady while enrollment losses in district public schools also remained constant. During the first full year of the pandemic, there was a large increase in charter enrollment (7%, or 240,000 students) nationwide and a large decrease in public district enrollment (3.5%, or nearly 1.5 million students). In the following school year, enrollment remained relatively flat for both types of schools with data indicating that most students who left their district schools in the first year of the pandemic did not return, even after schools reopened and in-person instruction resumed. The “adjustment” in enrollment that occurred during the pandemic that resulted in charter enrollment gains and district public school enrollment losses appears to be a “new normal,” instead of a temporary reaction to turbulent times.
· Florida saw the nation’s second highest charter sector growth during the pandemic with an increase of 12,707 students from 2019–20 to 2020–21 and 20,013 additional students from 2020–21 to 2021–22—a total of 32,720 additional students since the beginning of the pandemic.
· Charter School student enrollment in Florida gained nearly 10% from 329,219 to 361,939.
· District-run public schools in Florida lost 58,493 students (2,529,733 to 2,449,761).
· Florida’s school-aged population increased by 2.88% from 2019 to 2021 while Florida’s charter school enrollment increased by 9.94% - more than triple the school-aged population growth.
· Hispanic families caused the greatest increase. Hispanic student enrollment in Florida’s charter schools represents 56% of the total enrollment increase.
“Parents continue to demand quality education options in Florida and charter schools have answered their call,” says Lynn Norman-Teck, Executive Director of the Florida Charter School Alliance (and charter school parent). “Charter schools across the state have experienced year-to-year enrollment growth – with the greatest gain happening during the pandemic.”
This report is based on the interim data available as of September 2022, analyzing data from the 41 states where charter schools exist and where enrollment data were available for three consecutive school years, from 2019–20 to 2021–22, by the time this report was written.
For more information, view Changing Course: Public School Enrollment Shifts During the Pandemic. To speak with an expert, please email Alanna Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.