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Private schools add 40,000 jobs across the nation amid coronavirus upheaval

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that private schools saw a significant jump in jobs as parents continue to leave the public education sphere.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported that overall, private schools added a “notable” 40,000 positions in the last month while public schools eliminated 27,000 jobs. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, trends are difficult to identify with certainty, the report warned.

“However,” the report added, “recent employment changes are challenging to interpret, as pandemic-related staffing fluctuations in public and private education have distorted the normal seasonal hiring and layoff patterns”

City public schools have lost enrollment slowly over the past five years, but after the onset of the pandemic, the trend began accelerating. Since February of last year, private schools have lost 159,000 jobs, but public schools have lost 406,000 across the country (New York Post).

As the coronavirus crisis has persisted well beyond a year, parents increasingly began to seek out alternative education that offered fully in-person rather than remote learning. For many families, that included making the switch to private schools over public, regardless of the price tag.

Emily Glickman, the president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting in New York, said, “I am seeing unprecedented interest from the public-school community seeking entrance into private schools.” There have been reports of a “significant” learning loss for students, not only academically, but also from a social-emotional standpoint.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents data that even suggests that virtual learning “might present more risks than in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.”

Post-pandemic, according to a survey by EdChoice, about 41 percent of parents were more likely to say they prefer a private education for their children. Private schools demonstrated more flexibility and ability to provide parents with the academic setting they wanted when it came time to reopen the schools due to the fact that they generally have larger campuses, smaller classes, and greater overall autonomy.

Part of why families could not previously opt for private education is because of the tuition. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, the average cost of tuition at independent schools across all grades is $26,866 per year. Thanks to financial aid, however, families now have access to schools they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Myra McGovern, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Independent Schools said, “There’s definitely increased interest in financial aid.” She added, “Schools that used up most of their financial aid earlier in the year are now providing more.” New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu announced that $1.5 million in federal CARES Act funding will be directed to organizations that give scholarships to private schools (CNBC).

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN

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