A survey conducted by Let Them Learn Minnesota shows that 60% of parents who responded will not commit to sending their children back to Minnesota public schools next fall.
According to a press release from Let Them Learn, the 2019-2020 school year saw 87% of respondents’ students attending public schools. The current school year has 81% attending public schools and only 36% committed to public schools for the 2021-2022 school year.
Let Them Learn MN is a grassroots organization led by Minnesota parents with the purpose of getting kids back in school full time and in person. The organization exists to bring awareness to the destructive impact of closing schools and implementing distance-learning models.
According to the results of the survey, which was open from Feb. 18-28 and received just over 1,000 responses, about 36% of parents said they are waiting to find out what model of learning their school will implement next year before deciding whether their children will attend. Another 23% are considering homeschool, private school, or public schools in a different state.
A report from the Minnesota Department of Education said that homeschooling increased by 49.5% from the 2019-2020 school year to the 2020-2021 school year.
As of now, 28% of students are in distance learning, 36% are learning in person, and 36% are in a hybrid model, according to Let Them Learn’s informal survey.
A substantial majority of parents, 90%, reported that their students would choose to go back to school fully in-person if given the choice.
Gov. Tim Walz shut down schools last March in response to COVID-19, and one year later, tens of thousands of students have “still not set foot back into their classrooms,” Let Them Learn said.
Additionally, for those who are currently participating in full-time distance learning, 31% reported that they chose this option so their student would not have to wear a mask.
In a previous survey from Let Them Learn, 28% of respondents said their children have required mental health treatment this school year, 80% reported that their children have shown signs of anxiety or depression, and 64% said their students have received lower grades.
“Instead of facilitating a stable, orderly return to in-person learning in the fall of 2020, the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan instead created such a high degree of instability and distrust in public education that it could take years to recover,” said Thaddeus Helmers, director of Let Them Learn.
Helmers also noted that declining enrollment rates could have a massive impact on state funding for public schools.
“An exodus of this magnitude would have a spiraling effect on district budgets across the state for the foreseeable future,” Helmers said.
According to the Minnesota Department of Education, one student enrolled in public schools generates approximately $10,164 in general education revenue, Alpha News previously reported.