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Enrollment in Montana's K-8 public schools is down nearly 4% this Fall, according to numbers released by the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction. Homeschool numbers, meanwhile, are up by almost 63%.

Some schools in Montana have been open for in-person learning 5 days a week, some schools have been on a blended model of remote and in-person learning, and some never re-opened this Fall.

According to the Office of Public Instruction (OPI):

Montana saw a 3.8% decrease in K-8 public school enrollment and an increase of 2.1% public high school enrollment for a cumulative decrease of 1.8% (due to rounding) public school enrollment. That translates to 2,749 fewer students enrolled in public schools statewide. Private schools also saw a decrease of 9% or 708 students enrolled. Students identified as homeschooled increased by 62.3% or 3,639 students.

Superintendent Elsie Arntzen noted the decrease in K-8 enrollment, and the increase in high school enrollment, while adding:

The OPI is still working with local school administrators to analyze this data and determine what if any impact COVID-19 has had on student enrollment. Montana’s public schools have responded strongly to the COVID-19 pandemic and so have parents to determine the best way to ensure their child continues to receive educational services during these unprecedented circumstances.

OPI also notes that some of the data may change slightly by December 31st as school districts revise or update their numbers.

Speaking of schools, in parts of the country schools have remained closed or are looking to shut down again. There's a very interesting read at The Federalist if you haven't seen it. It opens with this:

Right now in China, 195 million students K-12 are learning in-person in Chinese public schools. Meanwhile, millions of American public school students are learning in a failed remote system that can’t even keep track of thousands of students who haven’t shown up for class all year.

Click here for the full column.

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