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California public schools see 'sharp decline' in enrollment

California Schools Student Departures
Posted at 3:28 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 18:28:45-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Department of Education says public school enrollment dropped by more than 160,000 this academic year. That's by far the biggest decline in the state in years and the clearest picture yet of the pandemic’s devastating toll on public schools.

The data made public Thursday shows that the decline was driven by several factors brought on by the pandemic.

Fewer parents enrolled their children in kindergarten and some students left public schools for other learning environments.

The departures were led by white students who account for just 22% of California’s public school population but represented half those who left. That's prompted fears about exacerbating California’s education disparities.