As North Dakota’s public schools grew, Minnesota’s shrank

Enrollment in Minnesota’s public school system has steadily declined over the last two years, with the state system losing thousands of students to other learning environments.

But North Dakota’s numbers tell a very different story. While public schools lost students in fall 2020, enrollment numbers have since rebounded and then some. For the 2021-2022 school year, public school enrollment increased 1.6 percent. Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year is up 1.4 percent.

Why such different experiences? According to Burbio, an online school data aggregator, North Dakota is ranked 9th in the U.S. for average in-person instruction over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year. Minnesota is ranked 37th.

Source: Burbio

The fact is that overall, North Dakota public school students had greater access to in-person instruction than Minnesota students during COVID-19. Based on national assessment data, North Dakota students experienced significantly less reading and math declines compared to their Minnesota neighbors, too.