Public School Attendance is Going Down in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee

Public School Attendance is Going Down in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee

PADUCAH – The number of students in public schools across the country dropped by more than 20% from 2012 to 2022, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau that looked at students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The number of students also went down in Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, according to these numbers.

Leaders of schools said it’s hard to explain these enrollment trends because districts have to think about the pandemic, the popularity of choices like homeschooling, and the people who live in the area.

Kids who are hungry at lunch will eat a lot and be very active, which is what school officials like Brian Bowland of McCracken County Public Schools want.

“We just need to make sure that we’re doing a good job of teaching students and when we do that, that retains students and that attracts people into our school district,” he said.

Bowland said that the number of kids in the district dropped by about 265 between 2012 and 2024.

He says this is because more kids are being taught at home and the community is changing.

The number of students at Livingston County Schools dropped by 10% after the pandemic.

Director of Pupil Personnel Amy Ramage said that people have been moving out of rural places over the past ten years, which school leaders point to.

“Rural areas across the state are showing a decrease not only in enrollment for public school education but also in the county population,” Ramage said.

To get more students to sign up, Livingston County Schools added classes like health studies, nursing, and welding.

Leaders at McCracken County School want all kids in the region to get a good education.

What we hope for is that we can give kids another chance to learn and grow. Bowland said, “That every person who lives in McCracken County and has a child in school chooses to send their child to McCracken County Schools because it’s a safe place to learn.”

In Illinois, the number of students dropped by 1.7%. The number of students in Missouri dropped by 2.7%. The number of students in Tennessee dropped by 4.1%, and the number of students in Kentucky dropped by 4.6%.

Don Shively, the superintendent of schools in Paducah, said that his district saw a drop after COVID-19. He did say, though, that early registration numbers for the next school year look more like they did before COVID-19.

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