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The California education system consists of public and private schools in Californiamarker, including the University of California system, private colleges, and secondary and primary schools.


California is the most populous state of the U.S. and has the most school students, with over 6.2 million in the 2005–06 school year. About 25% of school students are English learners, compared to 9% nationally. Funding and staffing levels in California schools lag behind other states. In expenditure per pupil, California ranked 29th of the 51 states (including the District of Columbiamarker) in 2005–06. In teaching staff expenditure per pupil, California ranked 49th of 51. In overall teacher-pupil ratio, California was also 49th, with 21 students per teacher. Only Arizona and Utah were lower.

Universities and colleges

The main state research university is the University of California . The University of California has ten major campuses. Each major UC campus is headed by a chancellor that is appointed by the UC Board of Regents.

The ten major campuses of the University of California are located in Berkeleymarker, Los Angelesmarker, San Diegomarker, Davismarker, Santa Cruzmarker, Santa Barbaramarker, Irvinemarker, Riversidemarker, Mercedmarker and San Franciscomarker. The University of California, San Francisco, teaches only graduate health-sciences students. The Hastings College of Lawmarker, also in San Francisco, is one of UC's four law schools. The UC system is intended to accept students from the top 12.5% of college-bound students, and provide most graduate studies and research. The University of California also administers one national laboratory directly for the United States Department of Energy: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratorymarker. The university indirectly manages Los Alamos National Laboratorymarker through Los Alamos National Security, LLC and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratorymarker through Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.

The California State University system is also considered one of the better educational systems in the world. With over 400,000 students, the CSU system is the largest university system in the United States. It is intended to accept the top one-third (1/3) of high school students. The universities within CSU are primarily intended for undergraduate education, although many of the larger campuses, such as Cal Polymarker, CSU Long Beachmarker, CSU Fullertonmarker, CSU Fresno, San Diego Statemarker, and San José Statemarker (the oldest public university in California), are becoming more research oriented, especially in applied sciences. A marked change and a shift from the California Master Plan for Higher Education began in 2007 as the CSU now grants doctoral level degrees (Ed.D.) in education. Kevin Starr (the State Librarian) and others have argued that this small change is the beginning of a larger reorganization of higher education in California.

The California Community Colleges system provides lower division "General Education" courses, whose credit units are transferable to the CSU and UC systems, as well as vocational education, remedial education, and continuing education programs. It awards certificates and associate degrees. It is composed of 109 colleges organized into 72 districts, serving a student population of over 2.9 million.

Notable private universities and colleges include Stanford Universitymarker, Touro University, the University of Southern Californiamarker (USC), the University of San Franciscomarker (USF), Santa Clara Universitymarker, Pepperdine Universitymarker, St. Mary's College, the University of the Pacificmarker, the Claremont Colleges, Occidental Collegemarker and the California Institute of Technologymarker (Caltech) (which administers the Jet Propulsion Laboratorymarker for NASAmarker).

California has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. This leads to many unique entertainment and educational opportunities for residents. For example, Southern California, with one of the highest densities of post-secondary institutions in the world, has a very large base of classically-trained vocalists that compete in large choir festivals. In the Bay Area and near Los Angeles, there are numerous art and film schools, including the California College of the Artsmarker and the CalArts Institutemarker.


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