This report offers the first comprehensive assessment of California’s online (“nonclassroom-based”) charter schools, the state’s fasting growing education sector.


What we found

  • California is overpaying for nonclassroom-based charter schools by over $600 million per year.
  • Californians pay approximately $10,300 for every student who attends one of Pearson’s Connections Academy online charter schools. Yet, the tuition for enrolling in the private Pearson Online Academy is about half of that.
  • The educational outcomes of online charter schools are significantly below the state average, by every measure.
  • Online charter schools have expanded to the point that in most counties, there are at least six different online charter schools to choose from.

The report was authored by Gordon Lafer, Clare Crawford, Larissa Petrucci, and Jennifer Smith.

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