(WTVO) — Nearly a quarter of a million students, across 21 states, are unaccounted for within the American education system, according to a new report.

The analysis, conducted by the Associated Press and Stanford University, found the missing 230,000 students did not move out of state, nor did they sign up for private or homeschooling: they simply did not return to class after the COVID-19 pandemic sent kids home for remote learning.

Their absence has created a drop in school enrollment, and that means a cut in funding from federal, state, and local sources.

Education professionals are calling for an investigation into which children have left schooling, and why. Some findings said continued fear of COVID-19, homelessness and depression were among the culprits, with some students moving out of the country or finding a job instead.

The states analyzed, include: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. 

Because 29 states were not included in the study, analysts say the true number is likely much higher.

In addition, Illinois schools are having a hard time finding teachers. A new survey from Horace Mann found that nearly 1-in-3 teachers surveyed said they are preparing to leave the field in the next three years.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they would stay for more money.

“Our overarching theme, really, was understaffing, heavier workloads, and financial stress. When we do these surveys, we want to understand kind of what’s going on in public education right now. And that was the resounding theme from this last survey,” said analyst Kelly Ruwe.

The survey also showed that the more support schools have from parents and the school district, the more likely teachers were to stay. Smaller class sized also played a big role in teachers’ job satisfaction.