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Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Public schools across the country are seeing a drop in enrollment numbers as schools have shifted to remote and hybrid learning programs to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports.

The state of play: Some parents are opting to keep their children at home or finding models that provide in-person coursework.

  • Glenn Koocher, head of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, told the NYT that some parents are enrolling their children in charter, private and parochial schools as an alternative.
  • Private schools are seeing increases in registration, as they started the academic year with in-person instruction, per NYT.

By the numbers:

  • In Massachusetts, public school enrollment dropped by nearly 4% this fall, losing more than 37,000 students, the Boston Globe writes.
  • New York public schools lost 31,000 students compared with last year, according to Chalkbeat.
  • Virginia’s Fairfax County lost over 8,700 students since last year, while Maryland’s Montgomery County decreased enrollment by 3,700 students, according to preliminary figures cited by the Washington Post.
  • In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Orange County were down by 11,000 and 8,000 students, respectively, in October, NPR reports.
  • Wisconsin public school enrollment dropped by 3%, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

What they're saying: "We attribute a lot of this to the pandemic," Karl Streaker, director of student services at Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland — which saw a drop of 777 students — told the Baltimore Sun. "We have experienced declining enrollment in Carroll County before, but I think the rate of this decline in such a short period … is not consistent with anything we experienced."

  • "As our nation continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, states across the country are seeing changes in K–12 enrollment as families make decisions about the safest and most effective learning environments for their children," Chris Reykdal, Washington state's superintendent of public instruction, told NPR.

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
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54 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.