The Associated Press reported last week that an estimated 240,000 students in 21 states – including 10,614 kids from Washington – are no longer on public school rosters. According to publicly available data, these students did not sign up for private or home school.

This was a hot topic at Tuesday’s K12 Zoom. According to the data, between 2019 and 2021, private-school enrollment grew by more than 14,000 students – a 20% increase; homeschooling increased by 50% – by about 11,000 students in Washington.

Months of Assoc. Press investigation unveiled a range of reasons for students and families not attending school: fear of COVID, coping with homelessness, relocating out of the country, struggling with online learning, dealing with depression, or transferring to a different state.

Washington’s SB 5020, which aims to lower the compulsory age for school attendance from 8 to 6, has gotten considerable pushback from homeschool families who would be burdened by the required documentation at the onset of their homeschooling efforts.

The real issue that the State should consider is that traditional schools are not resonating with many students and families. This sentiment existed well before the pandemic.