The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way students learn all over the country.
In New York City, however, the cost of living may have affected the number of students entering what’s statistically known as the largest educational system in the Nation.
At the Monday, November 7th Zoom meeting of School District 18’s Community Education Council 18 (CEC 18) meeting, representatives with the Department of Education’s Office of District Planning spearheaded a discussion on overall decreasing enrollment trends.
The Canarsie/East Flatbush area is no exception to what’s been plaguing the entire city. Overall trends in School District 18 show that – over the last five years – enrollment in grades K through 12 has decreased by 17%.
District Planning Representatives Tori Fenton, Bryan Smith and Jess Meller provided a melange of studies and statistics exposing the bitter truth: fewer students are attending local city public schools. The “discharge data,” of school year 2021-2022 explained through a PowerPoint presentation, revealed two major facts:
-Slightly over half of all students who left a District 18 school were discharged outside of NYC.
-About 28% of the students discharged went to a NYC charter school.
An uptick in homeschooling was also reported, as a lesser-known percentage of families learned from the pandemic that a home environment was a better place for their children to learn.
The conflicting variables were ultimately discussed by CEC members. With the cost of living in the city getting more expensive, rental and home prices increasing and no end to inflation, some on the call agree that families have been moving, but CEC 18 Vice President Veronica Campbell is convinced that charter schools are “all the rage” and attract more families when it comes to enrollment.
“Our public schools don’t have the programs, resources and classes that appeal to them anymore,” said Campbell. “How are we supposed to get students [enrolled] when charters get all the funding and our public schools have nothing to offer? We used to have all of these creative classes, afterschool programs, special gifted programs and resources. Now, charters get all the funding for those things. It’s not right.”
Even though enrollment trends have been tracked in more detail since the 2016-2017 school year, officials can’t fight Mayor Eric Adams’ budget cuts. Over the past several months, City Council officials fought to restore $469 million in school cuts. The good news is that recent reports project public schools will not endure any further budget cuts this year despite declining enrollment as they crawl back to recovering from the pandemic.
While there’s no solution to fixing the spiraling “trends,” CEC 18’s board made administrative progress at the meeting; they were finally able to host their annual election of officers, as they achieved the quorum necessary to generate nominations and some of the voting processes. The group voted for Campbell to take over the role of First Vice President and board member Anderson David will continue his role as Recording Secretary. With an uneven tally of votes for the remaining titles/roles from the entire board, they agreed to table further election duties until next month.
The next scheduled meeting of CEC 18 is Monday, December 5th. For Zoom meeting access and information, call the School District 18 office at 718-566-6011 or e-mail CEC18@schools.nyc.gov.