Stanford study reveals how public schools’ reopening decisions during the pandemic influenced a drop in enrollment

August 09, 2021

In a new study, researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Big Local News, a project of the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab, examine the extent to which the enrollment decline was influenced by school districts’ decisions to hold classes in person or go remote.

The team at Stanford worked with journalists at the New York Times on a major report published Aug. 7, which analyzed the enrollment drop at 70,000 public schools across the United States. EdSource, a nonprofit media organization covering education in California, and the nonprofit Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) also participated in the project.

Here, Thomas S. Dee, the Barnett Family Professor at the GSE and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, shares more about how the collaboration came about, what the team discovered and why the findings are important as districts prepare for the beginning of a new school year.