Home > Uncategorized > Plunging Freshman Enrollments, Challenges for Working Women = Worsening Inequality in All Levels of Schooling

Plunging Freshman Enrollments, Challenges for Working Women = Worsening Inequality in All Levels of Schooling

Today’s NYTimes education section aggregates a series of reports from various sources and they all indicate that Freshman enrollments across the country are plummeting… but especially in the schools that serve the students with the greatest financial challenges. As this article by Shawn Hubler indicates, Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported Thursday is stunned at the effect on community colleges:

Undergraduate enrollment, he said, was down in every region and at every type of institution except four-year, for-profit colleges, with first-time students accounting for 69 percent of the drop.

But the “staggering” news, he said, was from community colleges, where the 22.7 percent enrollment decline from last year eliminated what had been “one of higher education’s bright spots.” In the 2008, recession, he said, community college enrollment went up.

Compounding the problem is the fact that with no government sponsored child care for working parents, the shift to remote learning is having an adverse impact on women who work. Times reporter Jessica Grose offers this summary of the problem:

Though we can’t be sure that what’s going on is entirely because of parental status, both economists I spoke to thought the dire situation for women was related to remote learning and the lack of child care availability.

“The drop in female labor-force participation was quite dismal and not surprising with the return back to school not happening,” said Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, as most of the biggest school districts are fully remote, and even many hybrid models provide a paucity of in-person learning….

Because of the outrageous expense of child care in the United States, even before the pandemic, “women with young kids in many cases pay to work,” said Stevenson, which is to say, they’re paying more for care and other work-related expenses than they’re making in salary.

So now Mom isn’t making ANY money… which hardly seems like a good trade off in a time when rent and credit forbearance are about to come to an end…

The pandemic is making it clearer and clearer that several agreeable fantasies the MAGA voters were sold are not true at all…. and the children in K-12 schools and those striving to improve themselves by going to college are paying the cost.

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