Public schools lost 1.45 million students, a 3.3 percent decrease, from the 2019-2020 to the 2020-2021 school year, according to a study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Charter schools gained 237,000 students, a 7 percent increase, during the same two-year period.
From March 2020, when governments imposed severe restrictions on civil liberties, to September 2020, homeschooling increased from 5.4 percent to 11 percent of children.
The report did not provide the total number of children who switched to homeschooling or private schools.
Charter school enrollment declined in three states—Wyoming, Iowa, and Illinois—and increased in 39 states. The remaining states either did not report their data or have not legalized charter schools.
Oklahoma gained the most charter school students by percentage—78 percent—and total number—35,751.
The smallest gainer, Virginia, reported an additional 49 charter school students.
Arizona became the nation’s first state to have one-in-five children enrolled in a charter school.
Public school enrollment has trended downward for years.
Numerous problems with public schools influenced these decisions, including abusive COVID-19 restrictions, like mandatory masking, and the widespread adoption of anti-white critical race theory curriculum.
Some parents planned to keep their children in traditional public schools until the government restrictions let them see firsthand the advantages of homeschooling, private schools, and charter schools.
Matt Mohler, a father of five from Florida, said he noticed immediate improvements in his child’s education when he switched to the Tallahassee Charter School.
“Within the first week, my [then] first grader came home reciting the preamble of the Constitution,” he said. “And I was blown away at the progress he was making in such a short amount of time.”