As the pandemic upended life in the United States, more than one million children who had been expected to enroll in these schools did not show up, either in person or online. The missing students were concentrated in the younger grades, with the steepest drop in kindergarten — more than 340,000 students, according to government data.
The analysis by The New York Times in conjunction with Stanford University shows that in those 33 states, 10,000 local public schools lost at least 20 percent of their kindergartners. In 2019 and in 2018, only 4,000 or so schools experienced such steep drops.
The months of closed classrooms took a toll on nearly all students, and families of all levels of income and education scrambled to help their children make up for the gaps. But the most startling declines were in neighborhoods below and just above the poverty line, where the average household income for a family of four was $35,000 or less. The drop was 28 percent larger in schools in those communities than in the rest of the country.\