How much before enrollment decline...matters?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DamienJasper, May 31, 2021.

  1. DamienJasper

    DamienJasper Companion

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    May 31, 2021

    Things are always fluid of course. But I know that budgets at public schools are decided upon by enrollment/average attendance.

    Obviously, this was an odd year for that sort of head counting, sure. I saw someone's post here about how many public school students were 'lost' in AZ. I live in Idaho. We 'lost' 1.6%. When does the enrollment issue become a 'heads are going to have to roll' issue?

    Also, basically everyone on this board has been teaching longer than me (I just finished my 3rd year.) Do you think those 'lost' students will be coming back, in a 'back-in-a-public-school-classroom' sense of the word? Or is the 'home schooling/learning pod/microschool/digital/online charter' thing here to stay in a threatening type way?

    Naturally, any input and opinions would be appreciated.

    MH
     
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  3. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    May 31, 2021

    What grade are you teaching?
    I think it's a complex question and that local changes are more likely to have a personal effect than the big picture. Overall, enrollment is declining as birth rates go down. But specific neighborhoods could change more drastically. Schools in my area declined in enrollment as the kids grew up and the population got older. People didn't move just because their kids grew up. Now, that might be changing. People are moving out and sometimes replaced by families with kids. Also, because remote working is more of a thing, and likely to stay a thing for a good number, families are moving out of the cities.

    People are on the move, and where you are is more likely to impact you as a teacher than national birthrates.

    Keep your eye on the micro demographics rather than the macro. What is happening in your neighborhood?
     
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  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jun 1, 2021

    Every area is different and every response will be different.
    California gave a good example of non-covid related decline that is happening in many areas (not all).

    I do believe those students who were homeschooled due to covid have a good chance of coming back when their parents must return to the office because there will not be an adult home all day. But there are a lot of families who may decide to stay homeschooling for more reasons than just covid. There is a subset of parents who were not happy with what they saw in remote teaching who will never return their children to public schools even if that means private school.

    My district is gaining students left and right while other districts in my state are dropping like a stone. Numbers are way up for the upcoming year. So, the loss of students is really area dependent.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We lost very few students to homeschool. I know at least two families who tried homeschool and changed their mind, reenrolling their kids in online public school or in-person public school.

    We have one public school district in my county. We do not have any private schools at all. There are no charter schools in our state. Next year public virtual school is only available to students with a documented medical issue. We are in a high-poverty area with many students who are in single-parent homes or being raised by someone other than a biological parent. Often there is not a parent available or able to teach a student at home. So, for my area, there isn't any sort of threat to the public schools.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Students are not really "lost" to the district, home schooling, etc. There are periodic redistributions, and since this pandemic is something that may come around once every century, more or less, there is not enough historical data that is relevant to the changes in many factors - both parents working outside the home, the advent of teaching online, the saturation of technology that impacts almost all families and households, and the list can go on and on. I personally believe that we will see students back in the schools, since it is mostly free and doubles as free childcare. Similarly, we are likely to see marked reduction in the quality of instruction once the parents are back to work, and as the older students take exams that will determine whether or not the students who only had virtual instruction this past year will fare well enough to get into universities of their choice, and even whether or not there may need to be additional instruction via community colleges to get students ready to attend top tier universities. These are uncharted waters and the one thing that will bear watching is how families and graduating seniors face the prospect of a four year program becoming five years, with the increased amount of debt that they may need to take on, just to level the playing field in the post pandemic future. I do believe that there will be changes that in the long run will work themselves out, but not without some angst along the way. I guess the way I view the immediate future is that there will be changes and adaptations, but that everything will work itself out in less time than we might actually predict.
     
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  7. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Jun 4, 2021

    Curious as to why you would expect a reduction in the quality of instruction...?
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 5, 2021

    Because when the parents were totally present at home, they attended many of the sessions in the background and acted as a safety net for students who were loving not being in the school building, but less engaged in becoming self sufficient self starters. A lot of the dedicated parents were the second level of teachers in their children's lives, and those students tended to have higher rates of work completed. I would not be surprised if every teacher who taught this last year strictly digitally doesn't have stories of cameras pointing at the ceiling, student unable to contribute verbally, and work turned in that was substandard. Parental observation held that phenomena pretty well in check, but as parents went back to work, I observed students turning in less work, missing more classes, and their fellow students innocently outing some of those who were lagging as gaming on the second computer in the house, which started us noticing the friend groups who all seemed to be doing the same. Understand, some of these students are driven enough and talented enough to maintain good grades, but others in the groups were falling behind in both the amount of work and the quality of what was turned in. Hope that clarifies my comment - I wrote it awkwardly, sorry.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 5, 2021

    I would agree with this. Teaching was put on display, for all to see, and some of those parents will respond by not sending their students to school if they witnessed low student engagement, unclear grading strategies, or even new teachers who, like many experienced teachers, struggled to come up with ways to stimulate and engage students who did not want to be taught digitally. Despite best efforts, parents may well tend to remember the awkward moments, the lack of one on one attention, or even the concern that the teacher was not building rapport with the students in the class. As the pandemic wore on, there were classes being taught by subs for teachers who were out sick, sometimes for extended time frames, and although everyone was doing their best, it may not look that way to parents who haven't been in a live classroom since they graduated! Some parents wanted more help from the teachers, so they could support their students, while others became frustrated because they were out of their element, some unable to help their students, and there just seemed to be no end to the waves of bad news that was broadcast 24 hours a day. Honestly, I think that some teachers felt that if teaching digitally was all that was available, they were ready to leave the profession. I do believe that over time, we will see a return to more "normal" behaviors on all sides, but this has certainly been a year and a half I hope to never repeat.
     

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