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Private Schools

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.

Requirements

California Education Code (EC), Section 33190 requires that private schools located in California file an annual affidavit with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. EC 48222 states that children who are being instructed in a private full-time day school by persons capable of teaching shall be exempted from California’s Compulsory Education Law. Private schools are required to submit fingerprints, for each applicant for employment in a position requiring contact with minor pupils, to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining criminal record summary information from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as specified in EC 44237.


Oversight

The CDE does not have the authority to license, evaluate, recognize, approve, or endorse any private school or course. The CDE does not oversee any aspect of private school operations which are considered private businesses.  

The CDE does oversee aspects of several Federal Title programs that offer services to nonprofit private schools.

Private schools may optionally seek accreditation through an accrediting body.

The EC does not require that private school teachers hold a state teaching credential.


Data

Data from the affidavit is use to create the private school directory and is also used to update the California School Directory. Budget language states that the CDE only compile information for those schools that report a total enrollment of six or more students.

The data collected in the private school affidavit is used in directories, by CDE Program Offices, and by other local, state, and federal agencies. Please see the private school resources page.


Private School Enrollment as a Percentage of Total Enrollment in California Schools: 1996–97 Through 2014–15

Year

Public School Enrollment

Private School Enrollment*

Total Enrollment

Percentage of Total State Enrollment

1996–97

5,612,965

615,011

6,227,976

9.9%

1997–98

5,727,303

622,965

6,350,268

9.8%

1998–99

5,844,111

628,746

6,472,857

9.7%

1999–2000

5,951,612

640,802

6,592,414

9.7%

2000–01

6,050,895

648,564

6,699,459

9.7%

2001–02

6,147,375

635,719

6,783,094

9.4%

2002–03

6,244,732

611,350

6,856,082

8.9%

2003–04

6,298,783

599,605

6,898,388

8.7%

2004–05

6,322,141

591,056

6,913,197

8.5%

2005–06

6,312,436

594,597

6,907,033

8.6%

2006–07

6,286,943

584,983

6,871,926

8.5%

2007–08

6,275,469

564,734

6,840,203

8.3%

2008–09

6,252,031

533,180

6,785,211

7.9%

2009-10

6,192,121

531,111

6,723,232

7.9%

2010-11

6,217,002

515,143

6,732,145

7.7%

2011-12

6,220,993

497,019

6,718,012

7.4%

2012-13

6,226,989

513,546

6,740,535

7.6%

2013-14

6,236,672

511,286

6,747,958

7.6%

2014-15

6,235,520

503,295

6,738,815

7.5%

*Includes private schools with six or more students
Source: Dataquest K-12 Public School Enrollment, Private School Affidavits


Additional information:

Private Schools Web page
Frequently Asked Questions
Selected sections of the California Education Code pertaining to private schools

Questions:   Private Schools | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 24, 2016
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