School Choice Rejected by California Legislature

Across the country, states are embracing the concept of education savings accounts as a means of empowering parents to decide where to send their children to school.  In the California Legislature, though, the idea is a nonstarter.

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Last week, the California Senate’s education committee rejected Senate Bill 292 by a vote of two in favor and five opposed.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, proposed offering parents who wish to opt their children out of the government school system the equivalent of what the state spends per student. Parents would then be able to use that money to educate their children as they see fit. Such funds could be used to pay for a private school education or other related education purposes.

According to reporting by Elissa Miolene from the Bay Area News Group, under the plan parents would be able to receive around $17,000 per K-12 student, based on per pupil state funding in the current school year.

“California’s government-run schools are failing too many students,” said Sen. Grove. “Any company that failed 84% of its customers would be run out of business, but in California the legislature rewards failing schools with even more funding. The government focuses more on funding institutions than students, and most parents have no other options.”

Indeed, as this editorial board has long written, California’s K-12 educational system consistently underperforms the rest of the country on standardized national tests.

Most students in recent years have failed to meet the state’s own standards in mathematics, English or science.

Troubling racial and economic disparities have long persisted in educational outcomes in California, despite continuously rising education spending.

In recent years, the state has curtailed alternatives to traditional government schools, namely charter schools, and has seen greater and greater spending on teacher pensions and other post-employment benefits.

Despite this, as this editorial board has noted before, the concept of providing funds directly to parents has widespread support across California. In 2017, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that 60% of Californians supported the idea of “providing [vouchers] to parents for use at any public, private, or parochial school.” Support was even higher among Black Californians (73%), Latinos (69%) and public school parents (66%) of all backgrounds.

You would not know that though based on the behavior of state politicians, many of whom are ideologically aligned with and/or financially tied to the state’s teachers unions.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register


  1. At some time soon it is very likely that some form of alternative educational track will be chosen by many states. Having watched the development of the charter school system over the years we have to know that there are tremendous abuse cases within that system. Any form of schooling requires monitoring and tough enforcement. Parent responsibility has been taken out of the equation because there was no desire by the politicians to have to get tough when the parents did not meet the basic responsibilities of parenting: sleep, food, supervision, etc. So in many of those areas the responsibility was passed on to the school. Then, on top of that the schools are now being told that they cannot send the misbehaving, non performing students to alternative programs or even have them removed temporarily from the classroom. One student, out of control, can turn a classroom of 30 upside down in minutes and daily. Who really is responsible for that??? Tough love works for students, PARENTS, community and politicians. It use to work well, so where have we gone wrong? Money is a BIG factor – like welfare/support tied to responsibility. Parents are basically paid to take care of their children. MANY do not but still get the money????

  2. What did you expect of a State where the teachers’ union has iron control over our politicians? Where the teachers were so worried about getting CoVid that they insisted the schools remain closed for two years, despite private schools being open and thriving with in-person education? Anyone who has a child in public school today should be looking at every alternative, every scholarship, every program that can provide funds for a private school, or at least a charter school if you can find one.

    • We put everything on the ballot as a Proposition. Lets see how it does in the next election cycle..If there was enough will, we could call a special election or wait….Follow the money, yes. Unions have control of most of the major professions so its clear why they are pushing so hard..good schools will have no problem hiring good trachers and parents can choose which way they want to go. If the $17k per student is all we are getting reimbursed, where is the other $5-7k going? And btw, its on the bottom end Nationally in per student spending…kids are not getting smarter, they are getting the short end of the stick. You have one shot for your children, take action!

    • Richard Wahl says

      Government employee unions should be barred from lobbying and donating to politicians. We tried to get it on the ballot once.

  3. All the decisions in the Legislature are explained as follows: FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL. They don’t give a rip about kids or middle and working class people.

  4. The California Legislature is a JOKE. Except for a handful of conservatives, the whole body is a bunch of power hungry, deviant elitists. Sickening that we have to put up with it.

  5. Public School teachers and unions are socialists. They are governed directly by government. Meritocracy is disappearing, being replaced by woke dysfunction.Tenure is the goal. Indoctrinating, not educating our youth.
    Charter School competition is the enemy to their evil and omnipotent power. Until the Supreme Court unhooks this cancer from our education systems our kids will continue to be indoctrinated to hate America and live in their safe rooms.

  6. Really??? says

    Has it dawned on the supposed intellectuals of the Communist Left that this is Sub Prime Real Estate Loans all over again.

    Use the money taken from taxpayers and give it to those who want to stay in substandard schools.

    You know like making people who have good records subsidize the loans of those who cannot make down payments or monthly mortgage payments.

    It is time for them to be completely exposed for the criminals they are.

  7. Rottweiler says

    Can you say HOMESCHOOL? Best thing you will every do and the best time of your life with your children or child and others who are of the same mindset.

  8. T. Jackson says

    If it’s true that 60% of Californians want school vouchers for school choice then we cannot claim to be under a representative government or even a democracy. No, we are under a socialist government system. The decline in our rights will skyrocket after the 2024 election.

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