California Schools See Drop in Enrollment for 5th Straight Year, SDUSD Also Down

Since 2020, parents have taken a more vested interest in their children’s education. With zoom classes and new radical education agendas, parents are taking a more active role. Decisions made by school boards and the government have made parents re-evaluate where their children go to school, and California is a prime example of that. 

For the fifth straight year, enrollment in California public schools is down. Enrollment was down 1.8% in the state from this year to last year. San Diego is no exception. San Diego Unified enrollment is down from 118,523 last year to 114,467, a 3.44% decrease. There are many factors that are attributed to the decrease in enrollment. One is that many Californians have become frustrated with the state government and left for other states like Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Texas. The most notable factor is that parents have pulled their children out of public schools and enrolled them in private or charter schools because of policies they disagreed with. 

Parents changing their children’s schools is becoming more and more commonplace. During the COVID pandemic, children had to attend class online, forcing parents to sit in and miss work time. When they went back to school, they were forced to wear masks despite children being at low risk for COVID. Eric Moten pulled his two daughters out of public school and enrolled them in charter schools after seeing how online classes went, “You can see the decline in learning with the kids online and trying to keep their attention span up”. Spokesperson for the California School Boards Association Tony Flint said, “There’s been a lot of turmoil in public schools related to the pandemic, and that has also increased frustration and perhaps driven some people away at public schools”. One area that has seen an enrollment increase is Catholic schools. Spokesman for the Roman Catholic Dioceses of San Diego Kevin Eckery said that this is the largest enrollment increase in two decades. K-8 enrollment is up 15% and high school enrollment is up 4% according to the Diocese. 

It is very clear that policy has an effect, particularly when it comes to children and families. Parents noticed the changes in education and many took action. Now, California public schools are facing the consequences of their policies. 

Photo Cred: NBC 7 San Diego