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DCPS enrollment projected to inch up next year

While there seems to be a brief intermission in the labor contract opera, I thought I might share some other news. D.C. public school enrollment, which showed a less than 1 percent decline in in 2009-2010 after years of steep losses, will creep up ever so slightly in the 2010-2011 academic year, according to new projections.

As forecast by a consortium of think tanks, the student population will rise from 44,718 to 44,882, a gain of 164 students, or .36 percent. While the projected increase is barely a blip, it is encouraging news for a school system that lost 40 percent of its students between 1996 and 2008.

But the news is also qualified by analysts for the 21st Century Schools Fund, who collaborated with the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution on the study. They say DCPS' numbers are being held steady by the District's big investment in preschool and pre-kindergarten programs. Preschool enrollment is forecast to grow more than 12 percent in 2010-2011, from 1,758 to 1,981. Pre-kindergarten population is expected to rise more than 10 percent, from 2,942 to 3247. Many upper grade levels show continued decline, including grades 1-3 (3.3 percent) grades 6-8 (1.4 percent) and 9-12 (1.4 percent).

Public charter schools are projected to continue their brisk growth next year, with a 6.2 percent increase from 27,661 to 29,387.

As I noted on April 4 the projections, done at the request of OSSE by the think tanks, were supposed to have been released April 1 with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed budget. But release was delayed until April 5. No reason was given for the delay. I apologize for my delay in getting around to posting this.

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By Bill Turque  |  April 15, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
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OK, my math skills are not the greatest - so I invite others to use the numbers Bill provided and do the rest of the math - but to me it looks like a decrease of 374, if you don't count the increases in the pre-first grade numbers, which weren't included last year, is that right?? Someone help me here.

Also, it looks like there are declines in enrollment in every grade 1-12 except for 4th and 5th grades, right?

Posted by: efavorite | April 15, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Will rely on your careful observation, with any refinement from someone you and I can trust with the numbers. That said, this means we need no additional teachers, which is a relief, especially since Mr. G has done his usual thing. He is a numbers magician, making them appear, then disappear. Mayor Fenty needs to consider cashiering this guy, who amazingly stayed after haplessly allowing the 48 million dollar real estate tax fiasco and grand theft.

Posted by: axolotl | April 15, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Axolotl...ride or!

No it means that Rhee has failed to stop the decline. Pre-K and K will always be the easy pickings. Why? Because parents will only have to shell out daycare money for 1-3 years. The reality is that DCPS continues. Yes continues to lose kids after 3rd grade, well at least those kids whose parents are engaged enough to see that if they want their child to progress they will either have to pay for a better education or move to another jurisdiction .

Rhee could not convince enough parents that DCPS was worth enough to keep their kids in after 3rd grade. And with the latest mess of “Rhee vs Gandi(sp)” I know for a fact that many parents are really looking at their options.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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