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California Compulsory Education Laws

In all U.S. states, including California, compulsory education laws mandate some form of education for children from early childhood through their teens. Education was largely a private matter, often through churches, before the public took responsibility in the nineteenth century. California allows most alternative forms of education as well, including home schooling or private schools, and other exceptions.

The basic provisions of California compulsory education laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Compulsory Education section to learn more.

Code Section Educ. §§48200, et seq.; 48400; 48293
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 6 and 18; unless otherwise exempted, persons 16 to 18 must attend special continuation education classes
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements Children attending private schools; child being tutored by person with state credential for grade being taught; children holding work permits (subject to compulsory part-time classes); child of 15 may take a leave of absence for supervised travel, study, training, or work not available to the student under another education option if certain conditions are met; illegal aliens (under Proposition 187 under judicial attack)
Home School Provisions -
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance Guilty of an infraction; 1st conviction: fine up to $100; 2nd conviction: fine up to $250; 3rd or subsequent convictions: fine up to $500; in lieu of any fines, court may order person placed in parent education and counseling program

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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