Over the past 18 months, the parents of an estimated 10.8 million students, or nearly one in five of the nation’s schoolchildren, did not get what they wanted from their child’s school, reports Bellwether Education Partners in a new report, “The Overlooked.” These families are not a monolith — they represent a diverse range of communities found across America, both in terms of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. While some were more economically equipped to react, all have felt the disruptions of the pandemic in their daily lives.
Two important changes have taken root among these families. First, there has been a fundamental transformation of what families prioritize for their kids’ physical, mental, emotional, and academic development. Second, for the first time in modern history, nearly every family in America had to consider different educational settings for their children.
Families’ preferences for their children’s education in the fall of 2020 looked very different from their preferences in any previous year. Some have found new options to meet their needs, some have disengaged from the system entirely and others will have to grapple with unresponsive systems and limited choices this fall.
The Overlooked report focuses on the following groups of students:
The Movers (8.7 million students) – Children who changed schools between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years outside of normal grade-level progressions.
The Missed (0.6 million) – Children who did not enroll in any formal schooling during the 2020-21 school year.
The Muted (1.5 million) – Children of parents who are frustrated with their current schooling option and lack access to their preferred alternative(s).