News Briefs | FYI
April 18, 2022
CDE: K-12 enrollment drops by 110,000 students
California K–12 public school enrollment dipped below 6 million students in 2021-22, according to data just released by the California Department of Education.
Enrollment is down from 6,002,523 in 2020–21 to 5,892,240 in 2021–22, a decrease of more than 110,000 students and 1.8 percent from the prior year.
The annual snapshot of fall enrollment shows a fifth year of decline as the state emerges from two challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The release provides yet another data point in the continuing analysis of California’s overall demographic shifts and related pandemic impacts. The information is crucial to understanding how best to plan for a robust recovery in years ahead.
California enrollment declines are consistent with national data trends that show enrollment is dropping across the country. These declines began prior to the pandemic and are projected to continue into the future in California. Large urban districts in California account for close to a third of the drop in the current year. Reports published suggest that both Chicago and New York also saw significant declines for the second year of the pandemic.
Data from 2020–21 to 2021–22 show that total enrollment of African American students declined 3.6 percent, Asian students declined 1.9 percent, Hispanic/Latino students declined 0.9 percent, and White students declined 4.9 percent. The student group that identified as two or more races increased by 1.7 percent while the student group that did not report their race increased by 18.3 percent.
Trends show that the largest grade-level decreases in the enrollment data can be found in grades one, four, seven and nine. Enrollment increases from the prior year occurred in kindergarten and grade 12.
The data are compiled by the CDE from data submitted annually by LEAs. Under state law enacted during the pandemic, school districts will not experience a decline in revenues due to decreases in attendance in the current academic year.
Research looks at teen, tween media use during pandemic
A new research report from Common Sense Media provides a clearer picture of what many parents, educators and child advocates have long suspected after more than two years of the pandemic: Tweens and teens are on screens a lot more.
The new research reveals that media use by 8- to 18-year-olds has grown faster during the two years of the pandemic than it had over the four years before the pandemic began.
The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2021, is Common Sense’s first analysis comparing screen use before and during the pandemic. The latest data shows that from 2015 to 2019, entertainment screen use, excluding media and tech use for school or homework, grew only 3 percent for tweens, and 11 percent for teens. But from 2019–2021 alone, after the start of the pandemic, screen use grew by 17 percent for both age groups. In the past two years, average daily screen use jumped to 5 hours 33 minutes from 4 hours 44 minutes among tweens, and up to 8 hours 39 minutes from 7 hours 22 minutes among teens.
The report looks beyond daily screen time and considers other data to better understand how kids are spending their time online and how much they enjoy various media activities.
While social media is popular among teens, and growing more popular with tweens, not all of them are enjoying the experience. Eighty-four percent of teens surveyed say they use social media, but only 34 percent say they enjoy using social media “a lot,” which is much lower than the 62 percent who say they enjoy watching online videos that much.
One key data point that should not be overlooked by families, educators and policymakers alike is the disturbing trend of younger users flocking to social media platforms that are designed for older audiences. The survey found that social media use is increasing for 8- to 12-year-olds, an age group that is technically not allowed to have access to the main social media platforms. Thirty-eight percent of respondents surveyed in this age group say that they use some form of social media, up from 31 percent in 2019.
“The aging down of social media is something we should be concerned about, as social media platforms are not designed with children in mind,” says Michael Robb, senior director of research at Common Sense Media. “Tech companies need to be accountable for the young people on their platforms and consider kids’ development when creating their algorithms, design features, and techniques to keep them engaged.”
The report also addresses differences in gender, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic background when it comes to media use. While screen time has risen across the board, boys use more screen media than girls, Black and Hispanic/Latino youth use more screen media than White youth, and tweens and teens in lower-income households engage with substantially more screen media than their peers in higher-income households.

Student ID cards must include new Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The CDE is reminding LEAs planning for the 2022–23 school year that Education Code Section 215 requires any public school that serves students in any of grades seven to 12 and that issues student identification cards to have printed on either side of the cards the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It also authorizes schools to include on either side of the cards the Crisis Text Line and a local suicide prevention hotline telephone number. While the official launch of the new 988 number isn’t until July 14, the number is already operating and students are using it. As LEAs start planning for the printing of student identification cards, they should be sure to use the new number.
It is important that students understand why the hotline number is on the card and how it can be used. The CDE suggests including the following language:
“If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or having trouble coping, there is help. If you are in distress or just want to talk about your problems, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text HOME to 741741 for free, confidential support.”
ASCD forum will discuss teacher recruitment
Join ASCD this April for an online conversation on the topic of teacher recruitment, retention and support. ASCD wants to hear directly from educators on how to improve the profession — especially in the areas of induction, compensation, working conditions and recognition. Follow @ASCD on Twitter to see questions, information and resources to inform the conversation and contribute your input using the #ASCDForum hashtag.
Computer science grant funding now available
The 2021-22 California state budget includes $15 million in funding for the Computer Science Supplementary Authorization Incentive Grant Program. One-time grant awards of up to $2,500 per participating teacher are available to LEAs to support credentialed teachers to obtain a supplementary authorization in computer science. The grant program’s RFA is now available and completed applications are due to the Commission by May 20, 2022, by 5 p.m. Visit
Free campaign includes farm-to-school resources
The Center for Ecoliteracy is working to make it easier for school districts to procure California-grown fruits and vegetables for their meal programs. Through the free Fresh from California campaign, schools will receive resources to help serve and promote California-grown fruits and vegetables, including marketing materials in English and Spanish, menu planning support, farmer visits and media support. Sign up at
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