Will public school enrollment rebound?

Will public school enrollment rebound?

The movement to defeat race-obsessed left-wing school board members is a worthy one. It can be expected to improve public school education. However, there are limits to what even a conservative school board can do to limit woke instruction in the classroom.

At the end of the day, education will always be in the hands of teachers. And public school teachers will always be leftists compared to the population in the area. Even in conservative parts of the country, many public school teachers are leftists, and just comparatively.

That’s why private schools and home schooling have an important role to play in preventing leftist indoctrination at the K-12 levels. Ideology apart, they also have an important role to play in ensuring quality education at these levels.

The pandemic drove down public school enrollment. This may be the only good thing about it — along with the fact that, with students at home, many parents got an eye-opening look at what their kids are being taught.

The Washington, D.C. area experienced student-body declines of between 2 and 5 percent in the 2020-21 school year. With millions of dollars in funding at stake, school officials vowed to re-enroll students and attract new families, according to the Washington Post.

But, says the Post, these efforts have been unavailing. In D.C. itself, preliminary numbers show that public school enrollment in the growing city increased only slightly. It lags below projections and below the levels seen before the pandemic.

In Northern Virginia, enrollment fell again this year in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest district, and in Alexandria City Public Schools. Enrollment in Loudoun County Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools rose “ever so slightly,” as the Post puts it.

In the Maryland suburbs, official enrollment numbers are not yet in. However, preliminary figures show that the state’s two largest school systems — those in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — have not rebounded from the significant reductions suffered last year. In fact, if I’m reading the Post’s report correctly, it’s estimated that enrollment in Prince George’s County schools is down more than 2 percent from last year.

The Post’s article treats low enrollment as a funding issue. For the reasons stated at the beginning of this post, I view it primarily as an education issue. The less enrollment in public schools, the better educated Americans are likely to be.

And enrollment may not have bottomed out. The decline in enrollment during the past two years is mostly due to the way public schools responded to the pandemic coupled, I imagine, with contempt for teachers unions.

These sentiments will linger. But on top of them, we now have growing ideological disenchantment with the instruction at many public schools and growing disgust with the way local school boards respond to parent complaints about that instruction.

Long may this continue.

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