How Will The Kindergarten Bubble Impact School Funding?

The numbers are getting clearer; a lack of early learners enrolled in public schools in 2021 is creating a Kindergarten bubble. This could potentially lead to various issues, one of which is funding, and education professionals are seeking and offering strategies for districts and educators on how to respond.

What are some of those strategies, and how do educators move forward to face this challenge?

Voice of B2B, Daniel Litwin, talked on Marketscale TV with Brooke Mabry, Strategic Content Design Coordinator for the Professional Learning Design Team at NWEA, about her organization’s recent research in one of the organization’s briefs that gave insight on the changing early learning demographics. Within the brief, the NWEA team laid out how the COVID-19 pandemic slowed Pre-K and Kindergarten enrollment, together Litwin and Mabry explore what this means for educators and school funding.

 

In a recent NPR study cited in the brief, school districts across the US saw a 16 percent drop in enrollment in Pre-K and Kindergarten programs.

“Kindergarten is one of those interesting places where we already see varying levels of student readiness when they come to us,” Mabry said. “But, when you add age in the mix, what we know may happen, is not only will their academic readiness be varied, likely their social and emotional learning will be as well.”

In 39 states, Kindergarten isn’t mandated for students, but districts are required to provide Pre-K and Kindergarten programs. In Texas, funding is dependent on enrollment and attendance, or how many enrolled students actually attend class. This can create significant funding issues, and some legislators are working on changing this formula, as the growing Kindergarten bubble could add to a laundry list of challenges facing the 2021-2022 school year.

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