The extraordinary value of Irvine’s public schools

You don’t need to be a student or even have kids to benefit from Irvine’s educational excellence. Irvine’s great schools deliver value for every resident.

You don’t need to be a student or even have kids to benefit from Irvine’s educational excellence. Irvine’s great schools deliver value for every resident. Here’s a look.

1. More high-wage jobs

Giant firms, including Google, Microsoft and Allergan, join a steady stream of startups that together give Irvine over 70% more high-wage jobs than the regional average, according to a recent study.

Corporate leaders often cite Irvine’s educational chops as reasons to call the city home.

“UC Irvine graduates and a deep talent pool are key components of the gravitational pull to Irvine,” says Yednesh Parnaik, a vice president at Enevate Corp., which makes advanced batteries for electric vehicles and is one of more than a half-dozen local EV startups, providing thousands of jobs.

A spokesperson for tech giant Microsoft, which has an office in Irvine, says having UC Irvine in its backyard “brings fresh perspectives for how to build on our most innovative products.”

2. Six-figure tuition savings for families

Northwood attorney and mother of three Robin Boren-Coleman Sexton says her family moved to Irvine for the schools.

“Living here, you do not need to consider an expensive private school to ensure your child’s academic success,” she says. “Our children received an incredible education and have been extremely successful at the college level.”

The savings can be significant. The average private-school fees in Orange County are $15,000 annually – or nearly $200,000 for a full K-12 education. In Sexton’s case, with three children, that would have been closer to $600,000.

Not only that, but Irvine’s public-school students outperform Orange County private schools on standardized tests, based on data from the review site Niche.

More added value? Irvine Valley College, which ranks first among California community colleges in transfers to prestigious four-year universities, provides two years of free tuition for eligible first-time, full-time students.

3. Great connections

As with other major college towns, Irvine’s educational attainment makes daily life more interesting.

Local aerospace scientists help IUSD students build satellites and launch them into space. UCI professors hold “Brain Camps” to teach middle and high school students neuroscience. World-leading cognitive-science researchers bump into X-ray engineers who bump into cybersecurity programmers buying groceries or dropping their kids off at school.

“In a place like Irvine, you can have really cool conversations – even when you’re not at work,” says Errol Arkilic, who has cool conversations all day as the chief innovation officer at the UCI Beall Applied Innovation center.

The conversations can have more than curiosity value. Ambitious entrepreneurs turn to the Applied Innovation center for mentorship and funding. In the program’s first seven years, it has turned more than 80 ideas into tech companies and helped secure $26 billion in investment and returns.


All three daughters of Robin Boren-Coleman Sexton and Dr. Charles Sexton have attended Irvine Unified School District schools. Their oldest, Northwood High alumna Colette Sexton, recently graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University’s Honor College with a full scholarship to attend University of San Diego’s law school. The Sextons credit IUSD in large part for these accomplishments, citing the education she has received at Irvine schools since 2005.