Guide to Charter Schools in San Diego, California

Guide to Charter Schools in San Diego, California

So much has changed in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Major shifts from in-person learning to online learning and back again causes parents to wonder what the best option for their child’s education is. 

There are so many choices in San Diego: public schools, charter schools, and private schools. Choosing an exceptional education for your unique child is no easy feat. 

What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in California?

A tuition-free, public charter school is similar to a traditional public school as it also offers education to kids in pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Community members such as guardians, parents, and teachers can petition for a new charter school to be opened.

Often, it is the governing board of the local school district that evaluates and approves petitions for the opening of a new charter school. According to the Education Code (EC) of California, the county boards of education and the State Board of Education can be the authorizing organizations for charter school petitions.

Another similarity shared by charter schools with traditional public schools is the source of funding. Both schools, after all, are funded by the state. However, these two school types differ in their administration and management since charter schools have more control over these aspects. Charter schools enjoy more flexibility in how they run their schools such as in areas of hiring and curriculum management.

Elected school boards, and school districts and their board-appointed superintendents oversee traditional public schools whereas charter schools are managed by an entity under the supervision of their self-appointed board. This means charter schools have more independence than usual public schools, allowing them to make their own rules and experiment.

What Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools are Available for Children in San Diego?

Our recommendation is the WASC-accredited School for Entrepreneurship & Technology, also known as SET High School. Our 9th- 12th grade students focus on solving real-world problems with hands-on, project-based learning. Students focus on 21st century technology like cybersecurity, programming and robotics. They also learn entrepreneurship skills when they create their own business models. We are one of only four California Distinguished High Schools in San Diego county. We’re enabling the next generation of makers, business leaders and innovators, big thinkers and big dream chasers.

SET High offers many robust academic offerings, like Honors courses and dual enrollment with Mesa College. These dual enrollment courses are FREE and offer exposure to college learning environments as well as college credit. We are transforming education and teaching our students the inner strength to accept themselves for who they truly are.That’s one of the reasons why Debunking Disney is listed along with Space Science and Youtube: Creating a Personal Brand, as a few of our most popular, tuition-free electives.

Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in San Diego?

You can choose to apply and enroll your children in a tuition-free, public charter school even if it is outside your school district. San Diego charter schools do not have to comply with boundary school rules. Thus, parents in San Diego can opt for the charter school of their choice and not worry about breaking district rules. California laws state that charter schools admit any child residing in the state if their capacity allows it.

What is the Process of Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in San Diego? 

The enrollment process of charter schools is highly similar to other school types. They require an application where parents have to provide information about the child such as name, address, birth date, ethnic background, and the last school attended.

It is your responsibility to check the charter schools’ application and enrollment deadlines along with the school’s specific enrollment rules, policies, and requirements. Charter schools may have different rules and processes but all of their admission rules must comply with state laws. According to California laws, charter schools cannot implement policies that unlawfully discriminate against their applicants. 

You should also remember that there is a high possibility of seeing your child’s name on the school’s waitlist especially if you applied to a sought-after charter school. Many charter schools receive more applications than their capacities allow. Schools that have more applicants than they can take in usually employ a random selection process. The lottery system is a commonly used selection technique by many charter schools.

Do Public Charter Schools Offer High-Quality Education in San Diego?

It’s normal for parents to wonder whether public charter schools offer high-quality education.

If you remain unsure about the quality of charter schools, studies often show that charter school students display better academic progress than those enrolled in public schools. Here are some figures proving the high-quality education provided by charter schools.

  • In reading, 32 percent of charter schools perform significantly better than their traditional public school counterparts, while 29 percent perform significantly better in math. Both of these results are better than the national average proportion of better-performing charters (25% in reading and 29% in math).
  • Black and Latinx charter school students have a graduation rate that is 15.2% higher than those of public schools in the San Diego area.

In addition, California charter school students in middle schools consistently fared better in their API Growth scores, outperforming their traditional public school counterparts.

About SET High 

SET High offers each student individual attention from multi-talented, highly qualified teachers, a healthy camaraderie with classmates and an intellectually rigorous environment that brings out their talents and personality.  With a wide variety of electives, flexible scheduling, dual enrollment college classes and more — our students regularly exceed their academic and personal expectations. Enrolling now!