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Enrollment in Connecticut public schools drops, diversity increases

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Student enrollment at public schools in Connecticut declined nearly 3% last year compared to 2020, according to an annual report by the Department of Education presented at the state Board of Education in Hartford on Wednesday.

Compared to five years ago, enrollment is more diverse. According to the report, half of public school students are non-white, 42.7% come from low-income families and 16.3% are students with disabilities.

But the chronic absenteeism rate grew last year to 19%, up from 12.2% the previous year. The report found that students who learned in hybrid or remote models in the 2020-21school year showed weaker academic achievement during the pandemic, compared with students who learned in person. The largest differences were in math.

Connecticut’s graduation rate remained higher than the national average. However, the percentage of 11th and 12th graders who met the College and Career Readiness benchmark — on SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams — dropped through the pandemic.