What is School Choice?

Under current law, parents can choose where to send their children to school. If they choose to send their children to a private or religious school, however, they must do so at their own expense. If they cannot afford private education, they must send the children to the local public school where the government will pay. Under compulsory attendance laws, parents who cannot afford private schools have no choice but to send their children to the Government schools.

Under the Educational Freedom Act, an individual scholarship account (Educational Savings Account) will be created for each school-age K-12 child in the State of California who choose to exit public education and opt-in into this program. The State will regularly deposit an amount approximately equal to the average per pupil education expenditure in the State of California under Proposition 98. At the initiation of the bill the amount will be $14,000 per year. Parents can then use that money to send their child to an accredited private, religious or parochial school of their choice.  Any amount left over can be accumulated and used for an in-state college degree program or any other qualified educational expense (e.g. vocational schools). Students who home school and are not part of an accredited school are eligible to the savings account but funds in their account can only be used for college or vocational  education.  

To summarize, under the status quo as well as under the proposed new law, parents can choose where to educate their children. The key differences are that in the future the State will fund private schools whose students who opt in rather than public schools only. Because the parents will now control how and where the scholarship money is spent, they will have a real choice.