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Educational Options in Public Schools - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

Educational options in California’s public education system include schools or programs of choice and schools or programs to which students are referred involuntarily. Educational options schools and programs are administered through districts, county offices of education as well as through the California Department of Education (CDE). A significant number of charter schools also serve as alternative educational options programs.

CDE services for educational options consist of (1) assisting districts and county offices of education to identify and make effective use of best practices and model schools that meet local requirements; (2) explaining legal options and rights; (3) processing requests for waivers; and (4) assisting with applications for new schools and for appropriate funding.

In 2010–11, approximately 367,000 students were enrolled in educational options. This is the number of students reported on a single day in October. However, because of the high turnover of students in some educational options, this number significantly understates the actual number of students served in a given year. Please note that enrollment for independent study was not collected for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.

Statewide Enrollment in Educational Options Schools and Programs:
2005–06 Through 2010–11

Program or School

Grade Level

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008-09

2009–10

2010-11

Continuation Schools

K–8

328

158

230

204

251

139

9–12

69,273

71,205

71,309

70,733

68,869

69,371

Community Day Schools

K–8

2,598

2,677

2,804

2,801

2,225 1,897

9–12

8,584

8,713

8,781

8,413

6,177 7,026

County Court & Community Schools

K–8

3,563

3,440

3,938

3,395

2,865 2,880

9–12

26,227

27,589

29,209

27,757

25,415 24,512

Opportunity Education

1–8

2,945

2,389

2,362

1,838

371 308

9–12

5,352

5,177

5,825

4,908

3,033 2,401

Magnet Programs & Schools

K–8

127,086

83,252

93,094

95,169

96,143 120,457

9–12

70,761

43,859

51,432

59,194

57,438 59,499

Independent Study

K–8

28,115

29,384

38,160

37,044

N/A N/A

9–12

79,535

84,509

92,605

91,097

N/A N/A

Other Programs

K–8

9,228

30,675

7,721

19,365

26,007 27,850

9–12

21,788

43,892

35,345

46,570

38,843

51,311

Grade Totals

K–8

173,863

151,975

148,309

159,816

127,862

153,531

9–12

281,520

284,944

294,506

308,672

199,775

214,120

State Totals

K–12

455,383

436,919

442,815

468,488

327,637

367,651

Note: School enrollment numbers were obtained from CDE’s DataQuest. These figures are based on California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and California Basic Educational Date System (CBEDS) data, reflecting the number of students enrolled on a single day in October, when data is reported each year. Because of the turnover that occurs as students transition into and out of educational options schools and programs throughout the year, the enrollment numbers in this table undercount, to an unknown but probably significant extent, the number of students actually served by these schools and programs.

Questions: Dan Sackheim | dsackhei@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-5595 
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