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Private 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.

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 used 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 2019–20
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
636,643
6,588,255
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
609,483
6,854,215
8.9%
2003–04
6,298,783
599,605
6,898,388
8.7%
2004–05
6,322,141
598,073
6,920,214
8.6%
2005–06
6,312,436
596,925
6,909,361
8.6%
2006–07
6,286,943
588,894
6,875,837
8.6%
2007–08
6,275,469
570.608
6,847,077
8.3%
2008–09
6,252,031
541,056
6,793,087
8.0%
2009–10
6,192,121
531,006
6,723,127
7.9%
2010–11
6,217,002
515,143
6,732,145
7.7%
2011–12
6,220,993
497,025
6,718,018
7.4%
2012–13
6,226,989
516,197
6,743,186
7.7%
2013–14
6,236,672
511,282
6,747,954
7.6%
2014–15
6,235,520
503,617
6,739,137
7.5%
2015–16
6,226,737
500,706
6,727,443
7.4%
2016–17
6,228,235
491,151
6,719,386
7.3%
2017–18
6,220,413
492,359
6,712,772
7.3%
2018–19
6,186,278
495,693
6,681,971
7.4%
2019–20
6,163,001
488,984
6,651,985
7.4%

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

Additional information:

Private School Affidavit Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Selected sections of the California Education Code pertaining to private schools

Contact Information

Teacher and Leader Policy Office
TLPO@cde.ca.gov
916-445-7331

Private School Data
privateschools@cde.ca.gov
916-319-0317

Questions:   Teacher and Leader Policy Office | TLPO@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 5, 2021
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