Dec 132011
 
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The question raised frequently in the press and around day school tables across the country has been how the recent and lingering economic crisis is affecting day school enrollments, with widespread predictions of significant enrollment decline, including in the Modern Orthodox sector.

As he has done annually since the economic decline in 2008, Dr. Marvin Schick has collected and provided enrollment data for schools outside the yeshiva world and Chassidic sectors.

Group # Schools 2010 # Schools 2011 Enrollment 2010 Enrollment 2011 % Change
Centrist Orthodox 66 65 18454 18776 1.70%
Community 95 91 19918 19417 -2.50%
Modern Orthodox 83 83 30252 29766 -1.60%
Reform 15 15 4266 4222 -1.00%
Solomon Schechter 44 43 11786 11338 -3.80%
TOTAL 303 297 84676 83519 -1.40%

“The data evidences a modest decline overall,” explains Dr. Schick. “Nevertheless, it is important to note that the decline is not necessarily a trend being seen across the country. In fact, there are some schools and communities experiencing growth while others decline.”

In collecting and analyzing the data, Dr. Schick realized that “there are schools that may fall into more than one category.”  For consistency sake, he maintained the designations employed in previous censuses, unless the schools notified him of their change in designation.  In addition, Dr. Schick notes that “the data for Solomon Schechter schools may indicate a greater degree of fall-off in enrollment than is the case because there are schools that were once designated as Solomon Schechters that have joined the RAVSAK network of Community day schools.  Also of note, schools that closed after the 2010-11 school year are included in the data for that year.  They obviously are not included in this year’s statistics.  All told, five schools in the Community sector closed after the last school year.”

“We extend our gratitude once again to Dr. Schick for his work on compiling the data. This annual check-in on enrollment is especially important to AVI CHAI, a foundation committed to a strong day school field, as we learn how the economy is affecting enrollment and school strength, and as we consider how we can help address the issue of day school affordability,” explains Yossi Prager, Executive Director of The AVI CHAI Foundation. “We appreciate the efforts of the day school networks involved in the data collection as well and anticipate that, over time, JDATA, a project of Brandeis University and the Jim Joseph Foundation, will serve as the repository of day school enrollment data so that we can continue to learn, adapt and strengthen the day school field.”

A copy of this Press Release can be found on our website here.