A notable number of students are unaccounted for in schools across the country.
States around the country are reporting a significant decline in the number of students enrolled in public school because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving experts and educators concerned about the trend, and its potential long-term consequences.
A notable number of students seem to have simply fallen off the grid, not showing up for online or in-person instruction, their whereabouts unknown by school officials.
Given the chaos caused by the pandemic, and the lack of data, it is difficult to truly determine the exact magnitude of the problem, which seems to be disproportionately affecting already vulnerable student populations – among them homeless students, children with disabilities, children of immigrants, children in foster care and children of color.
A recent study by Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit that focuses on underserved communities, estimates that approximately 3 million of the “most educationally marginalized students in the country” may have been missing from school since March 2020, when the pandemic forced school closures. The group said it arrived at the number by calculating a “likely percentage of at-risk groups not in school, based on media reports and available data.”
ABC News contacted officials from the departments of education in all 50 states, and found that the problem appears to be nationwide.
Although some states reported that they do not track such information, many others said that they have seen a significant decline in their enrollment numbers, and still others have reported they have thousands of missing students.
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