Reading Time: < 1 minute

Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Enrollment in Wisconsin public school districts declined in the 2021-22 school year by 0.1%. But Department of Public Instruction officials say that mirrors pre-pandemic trends of slow but steady decline in public school enrollment — and in the number of school-aged children in Wisconsin — since 2013.

In the previous school year — during the height of the pandemic — many parents did remove their children from public schools. That 3% decline in 2020-21 was the largest single-year drop in 25 years. That year, many schools still had not reopened to in-person instruction. And the state saw a surge in enrollment in virtual charter schools, reflecting the larger trend towards remote instruction early in the pandemic.

More recently, in 2021-22, some students left public schools for private schools, which saw a 2% increase. During the same period, home-based enrollment decreased by 8%, after a 47% surge in 2020-21 during the start of the pandemic.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Google Docs: Wisconsin home-based instruction trends through 2021–2

Wisconsin Department Of Public Instruction: Home-based enrollment trends (including public, private and homeschool enrollment)

Wisconsin Policy Forum: Private school enrollment fell during pandemic; homeschool, virtual charters grew

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Headcounts drop in Wisconsin public schools, more students use vouchers for private schools, new data shows

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.