A new report recently released by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute notes that schools in Rhode Island still face numerous challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last five years have brought “tremendous upheaval” within those schools.
The 22-page, data-driven report, titled “The State of Recovery: Rhode Island’s Post-Pandemic Public School Landscape,” found multiple key findings regarding local schools. Among those findings are declining enrollment in traditional public schools over the last decade, chronic absenteeism has risen to “all-time highs” and Rhode Island schools “substantially trail” their peers in nearby Massachusetts academically.
“Rhode Island students have tremendous and untapped potential to succeed and flourish, but institutions across the state have not yet risen to this challenge,” the report said.
According to the report, which did not offer recommendations as to how to address the trending data, student enrollment across the state declined from 136,401 students in 2012-13 to 124,233 last academic year. Only nine of the 34 school districts have seen enrollment increases in that time, the report notes. Five of those districts – Little Compton, South Kingstown, Westerly, Narragansett and Scituate – saw their enrollment drop by at least 21% over the last decade.