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Guide to Charter Schools in San Diego, California

Posted by  |  Date: June 8, 2021  |  Category:

All families are experiencing major disruptions in their lifestyles and are having to adjust to the new normal. Many parents, too, had to make time to guide and supervise their children who had to shift from face-to-face instruction to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some parents are also wondering if it’s time to find other K-12 education options.

Finding the best school for your child was never easy. It’s a task that requires extensive research and more reflection. What makes finding a school for your kids even more difficult is the fact that there are now more choices available. Parents, after all, can choose to send their kids to an online school, neighborhood schools, private schools, or public charter schools.

This post is intended to help parents like yourself make the best decision on their child’s education. We intend to answer a variety of questions such as “How does a public charter school work?” “How can I enroll my child in a charter school in San Diego, California?” and “What public, tuition-free schools are open in San Diego, CA?”

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, CA?

We recommend looking at the School for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SET) as an option for your child.

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 — SET High students regularly exceed their academic and personal expectations.

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

You can choose to apply and enroll your children in a tuition-free, public charter school even if it is outside your school district. California charter schools do not have to comply with boundary school rules. Thus, parents in California 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?

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?

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

If you are one of those parents who remain unsure about the quality of charter schools, then you should know that 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 the school year 2009 to 2010, around 67 percent of California charter school students met the state student achievement test targets whereas only 57 of non-charter school students met the same test targets.
  • In the same school year, roughly 74 percent of students from charter schools met the student achievement goals for disadvantaged students, a percentage that’s significantly higher than the 59 percent from non-charter schools.
  • In the same school year, middle school students from charter schools also did better across all-subgroups when compared to students from non-charter schools in California.

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

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