School & District Management

Statistics Update: New Trends in Enrollment, Virtual Schooling, and Special Education

By Maya Riser-Kositsky & Debra Viadero — August 03, 2022 1 min read
Conceptual image of allocation.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Here’s a quiz: How many public and private schools are in the United States? What’s the average tenure of a big-city superintendent? How much do states spend on average each year per pupil?

The answers (130,930, six years, and $13,679, respectively) can be found on Education Week’s statistics pages. EdWeek librarians regularly gather statistics like these for both general education and special education and revise them periodically. The most recent revision surfaced new data on virtual schooling, student enrollment, and the share of students in special education.

Here are three changes from the latest go-round:

  • There were 691 virtual schools in 2019-20, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s before the pandemic took hold, so the number has likely changed. But it’s the most recent data available. By comparison, 21 percent of public schools offered online courses in 2017-18.
  • The average enrollment of city and rural schools is inching up. The average number of students in city schools rose from 585 in 2018 to 588 students in 2019, the most recent year available. Rural schools grew from an average of 364 students in 2018 to 368 a year later. Average enrollment in suburban schools, meanwhile, declined, dropping from 656 in 2018 to 654 in 2019.
  • The percent of special education students rose in states with the smallest percentage (Hawaii and Texas with 11.3 percent) and the largest percentage (New York with 20.5 percent) of these students in 2020-21. Texas previously had the smallest share with 10.8 percent of students in special education in 2019-20. New York had the largest, with 19.9 percent.

Finally, just for fun, can you guess the 10 public school districts with the largest enrollments? The chart below has the answers.

RankDistrict nameState Enrollment
1New York CityNY960,484
2Los Angeles UnifiedCA495,255
4Miami-Dade CountyFL350,434
5Clark CountyNV330,225
6Broward CountyFL270,978
7Hillsborough CountyFL220,252
9Orange CountyFL208,203
10Palm Beach CountyFL192,533


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Start the School Year With Purpose. Here Are 5 Priorities
Despite the challenges educators face, they know how to improve schools for students and teachers, writes an education professor.
Tyrone C. Howard
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of public school opening for a new school year
School & District Management School Leaders With Disabilities: 'It's Important to Share That You're Not Alone'
Educators say their own experience gives them insight into the needs of students with disabilities and how to support them.
14 min read
Joe Mazza, 44, the principal at Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua, N.Y., was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. He says the diagnosis has informed his leadership, allowing him to engage with students and parents who face the same neurodevelopmental disorder. On June 24, 2022, he starts his day in the Media Studio as fifth-grader Anna Villa prepares for the morning newscast.
Joe Mazza, 44, the principal at Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua, N.Y., was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. He said the diagnosis has informed his leadership, allowing him to engage with students and parents who face the same neurodevelopmental disorder.
Christopher Capozziello for Education Week
School & District Management Opinion You're an Educator. What Can You Stop Doing This Year?
Teachers and education leaders often feel stretched for time. Here are 9 ways to rethink your schedule.
5 min read
CartoonStock 543822 CS458303
Cartoon Stock
School & District Management Top Tips for New Assistant Principals From Those Who've Been There
Nurture relationships, learn on the job, take care of yourself—and other key advice.
5 min read
Image of leaders as a central figures to a variety of activities in motion.
Laura Baker/Education Week and gobyg/DigitalVision Vectors