Commentary: As parents seek better alternatives, public school enrollment plummets

Instead of having any introspection, districts and teachers will undoubtedly demand more money, rather than admit their shortcomings and adjust.


Students return to school this month across most of the country.

But after dubious COVID-19 mandates and assorted failures, many parents are having second thoughts, preferring not to send their children back to large public schools.

Eye-opening enrollment data shows that in the past two years, well over a million students quit the American public school system, as their parents seek superior alternatives, like charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling.

Unsurprisingly, major U.S cities run by Democrats are witnessing the largest decline in government school enrollment.

The Twin Cities and the entire state of Minnesota have seen plummeting enrollment. The total number of students in Minneapolis Public Schools has decreased by almost 13% from pre-pandemic levels, while St. Paul’s enrollment is down almost 7%.

New York City lost about 65,000 students since the start of the pandemic, with the largest district in America forecasting 30,000 more students will depart in the coming months; at the same time, charter school enrollment in Gotham is rising.

Elsewhere across the Midwest, Michigan is still 56,000 students shy of 2019-20 public school enrollment numbers as families seek alternatives to the status quo. Places like Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, and especially urban and poorer areas that abandoned children during the pandemic, see similar. And instead of having any introspection, districts and teachers will undoubtedly demand more money, rather than admit their shortcomings and adjust.

Through the coronavirus pandemic and transition from classrooms to virtual learning, many parents became disenchanted with government schools’ regressive policies.

We’ve all seen footage or perhaps personally witnessed parents protesting their lack of say in curriculum — sexualized reading materials and divisive critical race theory, in particular — or draconian lockdowns, unnecessary masking, and problematic vaccination policies. Physically enrolling elsewhere should send a message to government-run schools that choose to prioritize fear-mongering and far left teachers unions over vulnerable students.

“My wife and I decided to put our kids in private school for this fall,” Tre Stuart, a father of three who recently relocated from California to Kentucky, told Alpha News last week. “I don’t want teachers wasting time on social justice issues and sexuality. I’ll handle explaining these delicate things to my children and I’ll decide when they’re mature enough to handle those topics. Just do your job and teach them math, science, and geography.”

It’s no surprise then that charter school enrollment has jumped by 7%, and Catholic school enrollment rose by the largest total in a half century, and parents are exploring an array of home-school options.

College enrollment, for what it’s worth, is also down by millions this fall for similar reasons.

Knowing that governors like Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis, Doug Ducey, Mike DeWine, Brian Kemp, Kristi Noem, Mike Parson, Kim Reynolds, Glenn Youngkin, and other Republican leaders have followed science — avoiding the incomparable damage blue state leaders enacted on young Americans not at risk — and addressed parental concerns about what transpires in classrooms, many will vote accordingly in November’s midterm elections.

As their satisfaction declines, expect schooling to be a major factor in future voting patterns. Parents who value their kids’ education are likely to choose Republican candidates who also agree.


A.J. Kaufman

A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.