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Drops in enrollment were seen and felt nationwide since the pandemic struck. Some of the nation’s largest school systems have been hit even harder. Most recently, New York City, the nation’s largest public school system has reported a striking 8% drop in public school enrollment. Let’s get some perspective here:

NYC enrollment

  • 2019-2020 – 1,002,200 (more than a million)
  • 2020-2021 – 955,490
  • 2021-2022 – 919,136

The expanation

  • The reasons for the decline are not yet know, but may include:
    • birth rate
    • people moving
    • home schooling
    • school struggles with budget cuts due to enrollment declines

Attempts at recovery

  • NYC is working to get student back.
    • gifted and talented programs in every district
    • ensuring schools are safe
    • creating a better school experience
    • offering test prep and increase awareness among Black and Hispanic students


  • Enrollment is expected to continue to drop.
  • Budget discussions and clarification will be needed.
  • Enrollmet remain stubbornly disproportionate to the school system at large.
    • NYC uses the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) as the only criterion for admissions to 8 of the 9 New York City Specialized High Schools. It is governed by state law.
    • Very few Hispanic and Black students were offered seats at the schools, despite making up the majority of the city’s school system.
  • Plans include keeping the test in place, but expanding the number of specialized high schools.


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