Fearful of sending her two children back to school as the coronavirus pandemic raged in Mississippi, Angela Atkins decided to give virtual learning a chance this fall.
Almost immediately, it was a struggle. Their district in Lafayette County didn’t offer live instruction to remote learners, and Atkins’ fourth grader became frustrated with doing worksheets all day and missed interacting with teachers and peers. Her seventh grader didn’t receive the extra support he did at school through his special education plan – and started getting failing grades.
After nine weeks, Atkins switched to home schooling.
“It got to the point where it felt like there was no other choice to make,” she said. “I was worried for my kids” mental health.”
By taking her children off the public school rolls, Atkins joined an exodus that one state schools chief has warned could become a national crisis. An analysis of data from 33 states obtained by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press shows that public K-12 enrollment this fall has dropped across those states by more than 500,000 students, or 2%, since the same time last year. Read more…