Washington state kindergarten enrollment drops 14% amid pandemic. Where are the children?

Joy Resmovits:

Thousands of Washington’s kindergartners haven’t shown up or logged in to their public schools this year — and state officials don’t know where they’re going, if they’re getting any sort of instruction at all, or if they’ll return to the public school system as first graders. 

Overall, Washington state’s K-12 public school enrollment dipped by 31,000, or 2.82%, since the last academic year, according to new state data released Wednesday. 

The biggest drop, 14%, was in kindergarten, accounting for a third of the decrease. Overall enrollment in elementary grades saw bigger drops. The state’s total enrollment was 1.06 million, down from 1.09 million last September.

It’s an early hint at one way small numbers of parents, particularly those with younger students, might be coping with online school: by finding another way to educate their children. The numbers don’t definitively say whether the shifts account for anything more than regular population change, from children aging into the school system or graduating out of it.