California offers families limited school choice options. The state does not support private school choice. But it does allow choice within the public education system.
Public School Choice:
California has enacted both intra-district and inter-district open enrollment policies to facilitate public school choice. Parents have the ability to send their children to other schools in their district; however, if the parents wish to send their child to a school outside their district, the districts must agree to the transfer.
Private School Choice:
California does not offer private school choice.
The Center for Education Reform reports that "California has a relatively strong charter school law." Teachers do not have to belong to a union and charter schools can receive waivers to be exempt from certain regulations. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reported that where were about 485,000 students enrolled at the 1,100 charter schools throughout the state of California in 2013. However, most of these charter schools are centered in districts that support reform.
The Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report states that California offers extensive online education opportunities. California provides a state-led program and approximately 70 online charter schools. The state is also home to a consortium of nine online charter schools associated with K12 Inc., entitled California Virtual Academies. In 2011, full-time online charter schools reported at least 15,000 enrollments. Additionally, the University of California Santa Cruz operates the state-funded University of California College Prep (UCCP) program. There are also a variety of online supplemental and full-time district programs throughout the state, including Riverside Virtual School, which reported nearly 15,000 enrollments in 2011, and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which reported over 5,000 enrollments in 2011.
Click here for detailed information on California's public school system and see below for school choice contacts in California.