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. Into this account, the State will regularly deposit an amount equal to the average per pupil education expenditure in the State of California. That amount is currently over $12,000 per year. Parents can then use that money to send their child to a school of their choice. It can be their existing public school, a charter school or accredited private or parochial school. 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).
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 thatin the future the State will fund students rather than institutions. Because the parents will now control how and where the scholarship money is spent, they will have a real choice.