Religious school enrollment down

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Enrollment in most religious schools declined along with the economy in 2009-2010, while public schools saw enrollment growth and independent and nonreligious private schools held steady,  a new federal report shows, according to Education Week.

The U.S. Department of Education reported in its “Condition of Education 2011” that private, religious school enrollment declined from 6.3 million to 5.5 million students from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010, with the biggest decline coming in the final year, according to Education Week.

Enrollment decline was seen in both Catholic schools and schools designated by the National Center for Education Statistics as conservative Christian, Education Week reported.

Experts told Education Week that downturns in the economy, competition from public charter schools and demographic changes across the nation all may have contributed to the decline. Not all areas of the country were affected equally; the South and West saw Catholic school growth, the report said.

Education Week, “Report Charts Enrollment Drop in Private Schools,” May 26, 2011

National Center for Education Statistics, “Condition of Education 2011

Michigan Education Report, “Adding private schools to the school choice debate,” June 7, 2010