WHYY by Avi Wolfman-Arent, July 14, 2021
Offering in-person classes during the pandemic didn’t bring Pennsylvania private schools a big influx of students, according to a new report. While many public school districts closed buildings during the COVID crisis, or offered only limited in-person options, many private schools swung their doors open, leading many to speculate families would come flocking. But enrollment data crunched by Penn State’s Center for Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis casts doubt on that popular narrative. Private school enrollment in Pennsylvania fell 1.5% from 2019-20 to 2020-21, according to a policy brief by the center. It had already been on the decline prior to the pandemic — and the pandemic drop was slightly smaller than the dip from the prior year. That top-line data may obscure a much larger drop.
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