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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 for K–8 K–8 328 158 230 204 251 139
Continuation Schools for 9–12 9–12 69,273 71,205 71,309 70,733 68,869 69,371
Community Day Schools for K–8 K–8 2,598 2,677 2,804 2,801 2,225 1,897
Community Day Schools for 9–12 9–12 8,584 8,713 8,781 8,413 6,177 7,026
County Court & Community Schools for K–8 K–8 3,563 3,440 3,938 3,395 2,865 2,880
County Court & Community Schools for 9–12 9–12 26,227 27,589 29,209 27,757 25,415 24,512
Opportunity Education for 1–8 1–8 2,945 2,389 2,362 1,838 371 308
Opportunity Education for 9–12 9–12 5,352 5,177 5,825 4,908 3,033 2,401
Magnet Programs & Schools for K–8 K–8 127,086 83,252 93,094 95,169 96,143 120,457
Magnet Programs & Schools for 9–12 9–12 70,761 43,859 51,432 59,194 57,438 59,499
Independent Study for K–8 K–8 28,115 29,384 38,160 37,044 N/A N/A
Independent Study for 9–12 9–12 79,535 84,509 92,605 91,097 N/A N/A
Other Programs for K–8 K–8 9,228 30,675 7,721 19,365 26,007 27,850
Other Programs for 9–12 9–12 21,788 43,892 35,345 46,570 38,843 51,311
Grade Totals for K–8 K–8 173,863 151,975 148,309 159,816 127,862 153,531
Grade Totals for 9–12 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 
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 3, 2017
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