30 Years of California Charter Schools

30 Years of California Charter Schools

#ChartersAt30 Reimagining Public Education

By: California Charter Schools Association (CCSA)

Though we're sure you know that charter schools in our state are reimagining public education, did you know that this year marks 30 years of doing so?

You heard that right! This year is the 30th anniversary of our charter movement, which began in September 1992 with the signing of the bipartisan California Charter Schools Act into law. 

To celebrate this incredible milestone, [CCSA launched] “Charters at 30: Reimagining Public Education” campaign [today], February 23, with a virtual event being live-streamed on social media at 5:30pm. The program will specially recognize the legacy left behind by the charter law's author, the late State Senator Gary K. Hart, by having conversations with leaders of the charter movement both past, present, and future. 

["This legislation made California the second state in the nation to establish charter public schools and created a movement that has strengthened public education for generations especially for students in underserved communities,” said Myrna Castrejón, CCSA's President and CEO.]

Thanks to Senator Hart's legislation, millions of students — especially those from [systemicallly] low-income and underserved communities — have had access to high-quality educational opportunities over the span of four decades. Today, there are 1,300 charter schools across our state serving 700,000 students from all backgrounds.

[CCSA's] virtual event will be the first of many special events and celebrations they'll be holding between now and September, the month when the original bill was officially signed into law. Throughout [CCSA's] campaign, they'll be highlighting how the flexibility and creativity of the charter school model has forever transformed the public education landscape of California and put more students on the path to college and career success.

You can tune into the event [today via YouTube] at the 5:30pm start time:

History of Charter Public Schools in California

30 years after the enactment of the bipartisan legislation, California’s charter public schools have educated more than eight million students and currently serve nearly 700,000 in every region of the state. Every charter school in California is free, public, and open to all. Students are welcome to attend a charter public school regardless of academic performance, disability, religion, income level, race, sexual orientation, or zip code.

Charter schools are public schools that follow the same requirements as traditional district schools set forth by the state and local education agencies. They are community schools created by educators who have the flexibility to design instructional models that put students first and deliver a high-quality education. The flexibility and adaptability of a charter public school provides educators the freedom from bureaucracy to design an education that can help students succeed in college, career, and life.

California’s 1,300 charter public schools are non-profit and offer parents more opportunities at a high-quality public education that meets the unique needs of their child. Not all children learn the same and charter public schools offer parents a choice in their child’s education that can help the student succeed.

Parents choose charter public schools to provide their children additional support in certain subjects or to help keep them engaged and challenged. ...

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Charter Public Schools by the Numbers 

In the 2020-21 academic year, there were 1,294 charter public schools serving 690,455 students.

According to CCSA’s 2021 annual survey, more than three in four voters believe that parents have the right to choose a charter school if they think it is better for their child than the local district school. Parents support charter schools by a wide margin (56% to 21%) and 60% of parents surveyed said they would consider sending their child to a charter public school.

Originally published by CCSA.

About the Author: California Charter School Association CCSA advances the charter school movement through state and local advocacy, leadership on accountability, and resources for member schools.