The next crisis of our public schools will be their depopulation.
Enrollments have begun dropping across the country — in some places rapidly. This will be hard to comprehend for those of us who recall schools adding temporary classrooms to absorb the millennials.
COVID is only part of the problem, and probably the smallest part.
Look what’s happening in Boston:
In 1980, 18% of Boston’s residents were of school age— Garrett Quinn (@GarrettQuinn) December 10, 2021
1980-2020, Boston added 130,000 residents but school-age children decreased by 25,000
In 2018, only 10.8 percent of Boston’s residents were of school age
What does the future hold if Boston is only a city for the childless?
Boston is becoming “a largely childless city,” writes local columnist Bill Walczak. “Last week the Boston Schools Fund disclosed that Boston Public Schools (BPS) enrollment for this school year (2021-22) had sunk to 48,654. It was 57,230 in 2014-15.”
Los Angeles County schools, by the time the pandemic hit, were already down 10% from a decade before. The state forecasts enrollment will drop another 20% over the next decade.
Statewide, public school enrollment peaked at 6.23 million in 2014. The state estimates only 5.7 million students by 2025 and less than 5.5 million by 2030.
Past forecasts were all too rosy, even before COVID, as the Public Policy Institute of California lays out.
California's enrollment projections were too rosy before COVID. And now, "Over the next decade, declines are projected to accelerate, with statewide enrollment expected to fall 9% by 2030–31."— Chad Aldeman (@ChadAldeman) December 13, 2021
via @PPICNotes https://t.co/HTEQYMjN2j pic.twitter.com/Y33hjaDMFC
The most irresistible force behind these falling enrollments is the lack of future kindergarteners — that is, the lack of babies. California’s Total Fertility Rate was 2.21 babies per woman in 2007, and it fell to 1.66 in 2019.
The United States has fewer children today than it did a decade ago — not merely proportionately: The under-18 population actually decreased by 1.1 million, from 74.2 million to 73.1 million.
Of course, many private schools are seeing record numbers of applications after the public schools in Democrat-run states and municipalities showed disregard (or even disdain) for children by locking them out of their buildings, quarantining them because one child coughed, and forcing even 4-year-olds to wear masks. Homeschooling is seeing record popularity.
When they did reopen, the year of anti-socialization combined with the removal of School Resource Officers caused a crime wave in the schools. Instead of handling these problems, school boards pursued left-wing ideological projects.
When the schools empty out, at least social distancing will become easier.