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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

School Choice Made Big Gains During the Covid Pandemic

Education Pre K-12

Nearly 6 in 10 parents preferred learning pods to remote learning and traditional public schools.

Parents took advantage of education options like never before during the pandemic, to the point where K-12 schooling in the years ahead could look a lot different than it did pre-Covid.

According to a new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, enrollment grew 7% at charters between 2019 and 2022, while falling 3.5%, or almost 1.5 million, at traditional public schools over the same period. Catholic schools likewise have seen a boost in attendance, with nationwide enrollment this year up 3.8%, the largest increase in more than two decades.

In addition to fleeing traditional public schools for charter and parochial alternatives, thousands of families responded to the Covid crisis by creating “learning pods” or “microschools” for their children. This involved bringing together small groups of students who were taught by hired instructors or parent volunteers. The Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization based at Arizona State University, has been studying the phenomenon, and its findings are revealing.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. Follow him on Twitter here.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal