2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 82%
California’s B-grade reflects the autonomy its charter schools enjoy, and the high degree of innovation coming out of California’s charters as a result of that freedom. The Golden state has a large and robust charter sector. However, only districts can authorize charter schools, and they must appeal to the state to do so. The state’s elected board is vulnerable to politics; pro- and anti-charter sentiment can shift from election to election. This was clear in the most recent election, where anti-charter forces struggled but failed to maintain a majority. This bodes well for the growth of the sector for the time being, but additional, independent authorizers would protect the sector from politics.
- Fast Facts
- Law passed in 1992
- Number of Charters: 1230
- Estimated Charter Enrollment: 604,700 (increase of 4percent from 2015-16)
- California has a cap on the number of charter schools can be authorized. However this cap is raised by 100 schools every year and does not hinder the growth of charter schools.
- Online charters are permitted, but heavily regulated: They must spend at least 40 percent on teachers and 80 percent on instructional expenses (not facilities).
- Charter Schools can contract with education service providers for management services.
- A study by the university of Arkansas showed that charter schools in Oakland and Los Angeles had a 40 percent funding disparity with traditional public schools
- California receives a low score for “authorizing,” mainly because it limits authorizing to districts. Charters that want to operate in several places can apply to the state Board of Education.
- California earns high growth score with 13 of 15 points., California charters have seen steady growth of schools and enrollment.
- Law affords schools a blanket waiver from most regulations. However, since districts are the primary authorizers of charter schools, charters are too often subject to unnecessary regulation that hamper autonomy and innovation.
California receives a low score for “funding equity,” Although the state provides charters access to buidings (many states do not ), the is only a limited ($800 million) fund for charter school facilities development. This is not nearly enough considering the size of the state and the number of charter schools.
Online Learning Score: 62%
Over the 2012-2013 school year, the California Department of Education identified more than 66,000 students who took at least one online course and 22,000 students who took 50% or more of their courses online. Districts may restrict student enrollment in full-time online coursework and also have discretion over how many classes a student can take online. Restrictions on providers create barriers to expand the procurement of digital content throughout the state.
Teacher Quality Score: 62%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers C
Retaining Effective Teachers B
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-