California School Choice Solutions
School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on the educational progress of American schoolchildren, revealed deep inadequacies of the public-school monopoly, and left families feeling powerless about setting the direction of their children’s education. Currently, California offers no private school choice programs, but it does offer some open enrollment policies for certain public schools. California Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced Senate Bill 292— the California Education Savings Account Act of 2024—in February of 2023. The bill would create an Education Savings Account (ESA) worth $17,000 for every California student, allowing parents to choose any accredited school that best meets the unique needs of their children. The money could be put towards tuition costs and other educational expenses, opening the door for students to excel regardless of their zip code.
National test results for 2022 show that school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic had a harmful effect on American schoolchildren. For the first time in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), scores in reading and math fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years and students in California were no exception.
These test scores can have powerful consequences for a generation of children. Reversing these achievement losses will need aggressive action over the next several years. Parents need the ability to leave their government-mandated schools if necessary to help ensure their children have better academic opportunities. School choice is also shown to improve public schools by increasing accountability, fostering competitiveness, and boosting student outcomes. When parents can choose which option best fits their child’s needs, whether that means opting to switch or not, students reap the benefits.
As the AFPI Center for Education Opportunity, Chairman Scott Turner repeatedly states, “No one knows the needs and interests of a child more than their parent or guardian.”
"At AFPI, we believe that the purpose of education is to prepare Americans for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship."
School choice is representative of two core American values—freedom and opportunity. At AFPI, we believe that the purpose of education is to prepare Americans for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. As public support for school choice continues to grow, students across the nation will have access to schooling that meets individualized needs, and educational outcomes will improve. Most importantly, parents will be empowered to have a stronger voice in the conversation about their child’s schooling. While the Biden administration tries to stall progress on school choice policies, the Center for Education Opportunity remains highly committed to the school choice mission.