New York City’s public school enrollment is down about 2 percent this year

Officials said Friday that preliminary figures show enrollment in the city’s Department of Education has fallen 1.9 percent this year.

The Ministry of Education reports that there are currently 938,000 to 12 children in traditional public schools compared to 955,000 last year.

The charter school enrollment rate rose 3.2 percent, rising to 143 thousand from 139 thousand.

Total enrollment – including charters – is down 1.2 percent overall, up from 1,094,000 last year to 1,081,000 currently.

The 1.9 percent drop follows a sharp 4.7 percent drop in enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year and is in line with pre-COVID-19 trends.

The Ministry of Education stated that enrollment decreased by 1.5 percent in 2018-2019 and by 1.4 percent in 2017-2018.

The current figure of 938,000 students includes 69,000 students in pre-kindergarten and third grade programs, according to the agency.

Independent schools saw an increase in enrollment of 3.2 percent.
Independent schools saw an increase in enrollment of 3.2 percent.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

The Ministry of Education said departures this year were concentrated in the upper classes, while enrollment in early education increased after a sharp decline last year.

The agency did not separate enrollment by school or district.

Observers feared that enrollment losses would accelerate due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus and the specter of school closures and general disruption linked to the pandemic.

The DOE has argued that enrollment has stabilized somewhat – but indicated that the numbers will continue to fluctuate.

The city’s traditional public schools have seen enrollment fall 8 percent since 2017-2018, from 1,022 thousand to 938 thousand this year.

The Ministry of Education has seen a drop in student numbers every year since 2016, with the department citing declining birth rates as one of the reasons for the continued decline.

The numbers show charter records have risen above the same span, rising from 114K to 143K.

The Department of Education said city schools are curbing losses more effectively than other major districts across the country.

The 2020-21 school year saw a massive 4.7 percent drop with COVID-19 rearing its head.
The 2020-21 school year saw a massive 4.7 percent drop with COVID-19 rearing its head.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

The Department of Education highlighted that Los Angeles schools lost 5.8 percent of their children this year while Chicago lost 4.4 percent of students.

“Being the largest school district in the country, we’ve been impacted by fluctuations in nationwide enrollment that have impacted schools across the country, and this data shows enrollment is stabilizing as we continue our city’s incredible recovery,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon.

Attendance has hovered around 89 percent of its year so far, several percentage points below pre-pandemic averages.

While schools typically face funding cutbacks after losing students, the Ministry of Education has said it will fill the shortfall this year

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