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Shifting students: A look at Washington State school enrollment from 2020 to 2022

As in other states, enrollment in Washington State’s public schools has shifted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This brief examines enrollment changes in Washington’s district, charter, private, and home schools from September 2019 to September 2021. It uses student headcount data from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State Board of Education. 

We found:

  • There were 16,371 fewer students enrolled in all Washington schools in the 2021-22 school year than in 2019-2020. 
  • Enrollment in Washington’s district-run public schools declined 2 percent per year on average from September 2019 to September 2021. 
  • During the same period, private school enrollment increased by 10 percent per year on average, enrollment in homeschool increased by 27 per year on average, and enrollment in charter schools increased by 28 percent per year on average. 
  • While charters schools’ enrollment growth outpaced their corresponding districts in the first year of the pandemic, charter enrollment slowed to less than that of their corresponding districts in 2021–22. 
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