Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Hechinger Report writes that the number of public school students in the US may decline by more than 8% in the next decade due to lower birth rates and immigration. This could potentially lead to school closures.
• Are there actions funders in the education space can take to reverse this trend? Which private-public partnerships might help stave off closures?
What does the declining birthrate mean for elementary, middle and high schools across the country? According to one set of projections, it could mean 8.5 percent fewer public school students a decade from now.
“If it does come true, we’re going to see massive changes,” said Mike Griffith, a school finance specialist at the Education Commission of the States, a think tank that aims to inform education policy. “Nobody is talking about this.”
Griffith says that a decline this large will likely lead to school closures around the country along with some unexpected consequences, such as more full-day kindergarten and publicly funded pre-kindergarten. Rural areas, already hard hit by depopulation, will likely feel the effects most severely. Teachers may face a tighter labor market.
I calculated a gradual decline in enrollment from projections made by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a nonprofit agency among 15 states. The organization predicts the number of high school graduates to help colleges plan for the number of students in the future. But in order to predict high school graduates, WICHE’s statisticians also projected student enrollments for first grade through 2020 to 12th grade through 2030.
Read the full article about declining numbers of public school students by Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report.
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