Homeschooling in Nebraska

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Nebraska Laws Regulating Home Education
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 Summaries of State Homeschooling Laws

Nebraska Statutes Back to Top
43-2007 Schools; home school; duties.
(1) Upon notification by the patrol of a missing person, any school in which the missing person is currently or was previously enrolled shall flag the school records of such person in such school's possession. The school shall report immediately any request concerning a flagged record or any knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing person. (2) Upon enrollment of a student for the first time in a public school district or private school system, the school of enrollment shall notify in writing the person enrolling the student that within thirty days he or she must provide either (a) a certified copy of the student's birth certificate or (b) other reliable proof of the student's identity and age accompanied by an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate. (3) The parent or guardian of a child who is receiving his or her education in a home school subject to sections 79-1601 to 79-1607 shall, not later than October 1 of the first year of the child's attendance at the home school, provide to the Commissioner of Education either (a) a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or (b) other reliable proof of the child's identity and age accompanied by an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate. (4) Upon failure of the person, parent, or guardian to comply with subsection (2) or (3) of this section, the school or Commissioner of Education shall notify such person, parent, or guardian in writing that unless he or she complies within ten days the matter shall be referred to the local law enforcement agency for investigation. If compliance is not obtained within such ten-day period, the school or commissioner shall immediately report such matter. Any affidavit received pursuant to subsection (2) or (3) of this section that appears inaccurate or suspicious in form or content shall be reported immediately to the local law enforcement agency by the school or commissioner. (5) Any school requested to forward a copy of a transferred student's record shall not forward a copy of such record to the requesting school if the record has been flagged pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. If such record has been flagged, the school to whom such request is made shall notify the local law enforcement agency of the request and that such student is a reported missing person.
79-1601 Private, denominational, or parochial schools, teachers, and employees; laws applicable; election not to meet accreditation or approval requirements.
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) through (6) of this section, all private, denominational, and parochial schools in the State of Nebraska and all teachers employed or giving instruction in such schools shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of the general school laws of the state so far as the same apply to grades, qualifications, and certification of teachers and promotion of pupils. All private, denominational, and parochial schools shall have adequate equipment and supplies, shall be graded the same, and shall have courses of study for each grade conducted in such schools substantially the same as those given in the public schools where the children attending would attend in the absence of such private, denominational, or parochial schools. (2) All private, denominational, or parochial schools shall either comply with the accreditation or approval requirements prescribed in section 79-318 or, for those schools which elect not to meet accreditation or approval requirements, the requirements prescribed in section 79-318 and subsections (2) through (6) of this section. Standards and procedures for approval and accreditation shall be based upon the program of studies, guidance services, the number and preparation of teachers in relation to the curriculum and enrollment, instructional materials and equipment, science facilities and equipment, library facilities and materials, and health and safety factors in buildings and grounds. Rules and regulations which govern standards and procedures for private, denominational, and parochial schools which elect, pursuant to the procedures prescribed in subsections (2) through (6) of this section, not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements shall be based upon evidence that such schools offer a program of instruction leading to the acquisition of basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health. Such rules and regulations may include a provision for the visitation of such schools and regular achievement testing of students attending such schools in order to insure that such schools are offering instruction in the basic skills listed in this subsection. Any arrangements for visitation or testing shall be made through a parent representative of each such school. The results of such testing may be used as evidence that such schools are offering instruction in such basic skills but shall not be used to measure, compare, or evaluate the competency of students at such schools. (3) The provisions of subsections (3) through (6) of this section shall apply to any private, denominational, or parochial school in the State of Nebraska which elects not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements. Elections pursuant to such subsections shall be effective when a statement is received by the Commissioner of Education signed by the parents or legal guardians of all children attending such private, denominational, or parochial school, stating that (a) either specifically (i) the requirements for approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education violate sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents or legal guardians or (ii) the requirements for approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal guardians in directing their child's education, (b) an authorized representative of such parents or legal guardians will at least annually submit to the Commissioner of Education the information necessary to prove that the requirements of subdivisions (4)(a) through (c) of this section are satisfied, (c) the school offers the courses of instruction required by subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section, and (d) the parents or legal guardians have satisfied themselves that individuals monitoring instruction at such school are qualified to monitor instruction in the basic skills as required by subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section and that such individuals have demonstrated an alternative competency to monitor instruction or supervise children pursuant to subsections (3) through (6) of this section. (4) Each such private, denominational, or parochial school shall (a) meet minimum requirements relating to health, fire, and safety standards prescribed by state law and the rules and regulations of the State Fire Marshal, (b) report attendance pursuant to section 79-201, (c) maintain a sequential program of instruction designed to lead to basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health, and (d) comply with the immunization requirements in section 79-217 if the statement signed by the parents or legal guardians indicate a nonreligious reason pursuant to subdivision (3)(a)(ii) of this section for the student attending a private, denominational, or parochial school which elects not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements. The State Board of Education shall establish procedures for receiving information and reports required by subsections (3) through (6) of this section from authorized parent representatives who may act as agents for parents or legal guardians of students attending such school and for individuals monitoring instruction in the basic skills required by subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section. (5) Individuals employed by schools which elect not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements shall not be required to meet the certification requirements prescribed in sections 79-801 to 79-815 but shall either (a) take appropriate subject matter components of a nationally recognized teacher competency examination designated by the State Board of Education as (i) including the appropriate subject matter areas for purposes of satisfying the requirements of subsections (3) and (4) of this section and (ii) a nationally recognized examination or (b) offer evidence of competence to provide instruction in the basic skills required by subsections (3) and (4) of this section pursuant to informal methods of evaluation which shall be developed by the State Board of Education. Such evidence may include educational transcripts, diplomas, and other information regarding the formal educational background of such individuals. Information concerning test results, transcripts, diplomas, and other evidence of formal education may be transmitted to the State Department of Education by authorized representatives of parents or legal guardians. The results of such testing or alternative evaluation of individuals who monitor the instruction of students attending such schools may be used as evidence of whether or not such schools are offering adequate instruction in the basic skills prescribed in subsections (2), (3), and (4) of this section but shall not be used to prohibit any such school from employing such individuals. Failure of a monitor, who is tested for the purpose of satisfying in whole or in part the requirements of subsections (3) through (6) of this section, to attain a score equal to or exceeding both the state or national average score or rating on appropriate subject matter components of recognized teacher competency examinations designated by the State Board of Education may be by itself sufficient proof that such school does not offer adequate instruction in the basic skills prescribed in subsections (3) and (4) of this section. (6) The demonstration of competency to monitor instruction in a private, denominational, or parochial school which has elected not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements shall in no way constitute or be construed to grant a license, permit, or certificate to teach in the State of Nebraska. Any school which elects not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements and does not meet the requirements of subsections (2) through (6) of this section shall not be deemed a school for purposes of section 79-201, and the parents or legal guardians of any children attending such school shall be subject to prosecution pursuant to such section or any statutes relating to habitual truancy.
79-1603 Private, denominational, or parochial schools; religious instruction; sections, how construed.
Nothing contained in sections 79-1601 to 79-1607 shall be so construed as to interfere with religious instruction in any private, denominational, or parochial school.
79-1604 Private, denominational, or parochial schools; management and control.
For the purposes of sections 79-1601 to 79-1607, the owner or governing board of any private, denominational, or parochial school shall have authority to select and purchase textbooks, equipment, and supplies, to employ teachers, and to have and exercise the general management of the school, subject to the provisions of such sections.
79-1605 Private, denominational, or parochial schools; inspection by public school official; when required.
The superintendent of the high school district and its affiliated territory in which any private, denominational, or parochial school is located, which school is not otherwise inspected by an area or diocesan representative holding a Nebraska certificate to administer, shall inspect such schools and report to the proper officers any evidence of failure to observe any of the provisions of sections 79-1601 to 79-1607. The Commissioner of Education, when in his or her judgment it is deemed advisable, may appoint a public school official other than such superintendent, including a member of the State Department of Education, for such inspections. Such appointee shall hold a Nebraska certificate to administer. The State Board of Education shall require the superintendents and appointed public school officials to make such inspections at least twice a year, and the school officers of such schools and the teachers giving instruction in such schools shall permit such inspection and assist and cooperate in the making of the same.
79-1606 Private, denominational, or parochial schools; nonconformity with school law; penalty.
In case any private, denominational, or parochial school, after a final determination by the proper authorities under sections 79-1601 to 79-1607, fails, refuses, or neglects to conform to and comply with such sections, no person shall be granted or allowed a certificate to teach in such school and the pupils attending such school shall be required to attend the public school of the proper district as provided by law in like manner as though there were no such private, denominational, or parochial school. Full credit for certification under the law shall be given all teachers who have taught in private, denominational, or parochial schools the same as though they had taught in public schools.
79-201 Compulsory education; attendance required; exceptions.
(1) For purposes of this section: (a) Prior to July 1, 2005, a child is of mandatory attendance age if the child (i) has reached seven years of age, (ii) did not reach sixteen years of age prior to July 16, 2004, and (iii) has not reached eighteen years of age; and (b) On and after July 1, 2005, a child is of mandatory attendance age if the child (i) will reach six years of age prior to January 1 of the then-current school year, (ii) did not reach sixteen years of age prior to July 16, 2004, and (iii) has not reached eighteen years of age. (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, every person residing in a school district within the State of Nebraska who has legal or actual charge or control of any child who is of mandatory attendance age or is enrolled in a public school shall cause such child to enroll in, if such child is not enrolled, and attend regularly a public, private, denominational, or parochial day school which meets the requirements for legal operation prescribed in Chapter 79, or a school which elects pursuant to section 79-1601 not to meet accreditation or approval requirements, each day that such school is open and in session, except when excused by school authorities or when illness or severe weather conditions make attendance impossible or impracticable. (3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply in the case of any child who: (a) Has obtained a high school diploma by meeting the graduation requirements established in section 79-729; (b) Has completed the program of instruction offered by a school which elects pursuant to section 79-1601 not to meet accreditation or approval requirements; (c) Has reached the age of eighteen years; (d) Has reached the age of sixteen years and such child's parent or guardian has signed a notarized release discontinuing the enrollment of the child on a form provided by the school; (e)(i) Will reach six years of age prior to January 1 of the then-current school year, but will not reach seven years of age prior to January 1 of such school year, (ii) such child's parent or guardian has signed an affidavit stating that the child is participating in an education program that the parent or guardian believes will prepare the child to enter grade one for the following school year, and (iii) such affidavit has been filed by the parent or guardian with the school district in which the child resides; (f)(i) Will reach six years of age prior to January 1 of the then-current school year but has not reached seven years of age, (ii) such child's parent or guardian has signed an affidavit stating that the parent or guardian intends for the child to participate in a school which has elected or will elect pursuant to section 79-1601 not to meet accreditation or approval requirements and the parent or guardian intends to provide the Commissioner of Education with a statement pursuant to subsection (3) of section 79-1601 on or before the child's seventh birthday, and (iii) such affidavit has been filed by the parent or guardian with the school district in which the child resides; or (g) Will not reach six years of age prior to January 1 of the then-current school year and such child was enrolled in a public school and has discontinued the enrollment according to the policy of the school board adopted pursuant to subsection (4) of this section. (4) The board shall adopt policies allowing discontinuation of the enrollment of students who will not reach six years of age prior to January 1 of the then-current school year and specifying the procedures therefor.
79-211 Minimum school term.
The school term shall not be less than (1) one thousand thirty-two instructional hours for elementary grades and (2) one thousand eighty instructional hours for high school grades in any public school district or private, denominational, or parochial school. If any district which receives twenty percent or more of its total receipts for general fund purposes from federal sources fails to actually receive receipts anticipated at the time of the adoption of the school budget from taxes, state funds, federal funds, tuition, or other sources, the school board or board of education of such district may, at any time during the school year, elect to close all or part of its schools.
79-214 Admission of children; kindergarten or beginner grade; age; evidence of physical examination; when; exception.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the school board of any school district shall not admit any child into the kindergarten or beginner grade of any school of such school district unless such child has reached the age of five years or will reach such age on or before October 15 of the current year. (2) The board may admit a child who will reach the age of five between October 16 and February 1 of the current school year if the parent or guardian requests such entrance and provides an affidavit stating that (a) the child attended kindergarten in another jurisdiction in the current school year, (b) the family anticipates relocation to another jurisdiction that would allow admission within the current year, or (c) the child has demonstrated through recognized assessment procedures approved by the board that he or she is capable of carrying the work of kindergarten or the beginner grade. (3) The board shall comply with the requirements of subsection (2) of section 43-2007 and shall require evidence of a physical examination by a physician, a physician assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse within six months prior to the entrance of a child into the beginner grade and the seventh grade or, in the case of a transfer from out of state, to any other grade of the local school, except that no such physical examination shall be required of any child whose parent or guardian objects in writing. The cost of such physical examination shall be borne by the parent or guardian of each child who is examined.
79-318 State Board of Education; powers; duties.
The State Board of Education shall: (1) Appoint and fix the compensation of the Commissioner of Education; (2) Remove the commissioner from office at any time for conviction of any crime involving moral turpitude or felonious act, for inefficiency, or for willful and continuous disregard of his or her duties as commissioner or of the directives of the board; (3) Upon recommendation of the commissioner, appoint and fix the compensation of a deputy commissioner and all professional employees of the board; (4) Organize the State Department of Education into such divisions, branches, or sections as may be necessary or desirable to perform all its proper functions and to render maximum service to the board and to the state school system; (5) Provide, through the commissioner and his or her professional staff, enlightened professional leadership, guidance, and supervision of the state school system, including educational service units. In order that the commissioner and his or her staff may carry out their duties, the board shall, through the commissioner: (a) Provide supervisory and consultation services to the schools of the state; (b) issue materials helpful in the development, maintenance, and improvement of educational facilities and programs; (c) establish rules and regulations which govern standards and procedures for the approval and legal operation of all schools in the state and for the accreditation of all schools requesting state accreditation. All public, private, denominational, or parochial schools shall either comply with the accreditation or approval requirements prescribed in this section and section 79-703 or, for those schools which elect not to meet accreditation or approval requirements, the requirements prescribed in subsections (2) through (6) of section 79-1601. Standards and procedures for approval and accreditation shall be based upon the program of studies, guidance services, the number and preparation of teachers in relation to the curriculum and enrollment, instructional materials and equipment, science facilities and equipment, library facilities and materials, and health and safety factors in buildings and grounds. Rules and regulations which govern standards and procedures for private, denominational, and parochial schools which elect, pursuant to the procedures prescribed in subsections (2) through (6) of section 79-1601, not to meet state accreditation or approval requirements shall be as described in such section; (d) institute a statewide system of testing to determine the degree of achievement and accomplishment of all the students within the state's school systems if it determines such testing would be advisable; (e) prescribe a uniform system of records and accounting for keeping adequate educational and financial records, for gathering and reporting necessary educational data, and for evaluating educational progress; (f) cause to be published laws, rules, and regulations governing the schools and the school lands and funds with explanatory notes for the guidance of those charged with the administration of the schools of the state; (g) approve teacher education programs conducted in Nebraska postsecondary educational institutions designed for the purpose of certificating teachers and administrators; (h) approve teacher evaluation policies and procedures developed by school districts and educational service units; and (i) approve general plans and adopt educational policies, standards, rules, and regulations for carrying out the board's responsibilities and those assigned to the State Department of Education by the Legislature; (6) Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for the guidance, supervision, accreditation, and coordination of educational service units. Such rules and regulations for accreditation shall include, but not be limited to, (a) a requirement that programs and services offered to school districts by each educational service unit shall be evaluated on a regular basis, but not less than every seven years, to assure that educational service units remain responsive to school district needs and (b) guidelines for the use and management of funds generated from the property tax levy and from other sources of revenue as may be available to the educational service units, to assure that public funds are used to accomplish the purposes and goals assigned to the educational service units by section 79-1204. The State Board of Education shall establish procedures to encourage the coordination of activities among educational service units and to encourage effective and efficient educational service delivery on a statewide basis; (7) Submit a biennial report to the Governor and the Clerk of the Legislature covering the actions of the board, the operations of the State Department of Education, and the progress and needs of the schools and recommend such legislation as may be necessary to satisfy these needs; (8) Prepare and distribute reports designed to acquaint school district officers, teachers, and patrons of the schools with the conditions and needs of the schools; (9) Provide for consultation with professional educators and lay leaders for the purpose of securing advice deemed necessary in the formulation of policies and in the effectual discharge of its duties; (10) Make studies, investigations, and reports and assemble information as necessary for the formulation of policies, for making plans, for evaluating the state school program, and for making essential and adequate reports; (11) Submit to the Governor and the Legislature a budget necessary to finance the state school program under its jurisdiction, including the internal operation and maintenance of the State Department of Education; (12) Interpret its own policies, standards, rules, and regulations and, upon reasonable request, hear complaints and disputes arising therefrom; (13) With the advice of the Department of Motor Vehicles, adopt and promulgate rules and regulations containing reasonable standards, not inconsistent with existing statutes, governing: (a) The general design, equipment, color, operation, and maintenance of any vehicle with a manufacturer's rated seating capacity of eleven or more passengers used for the transportation of school children; and (b) the equipment, operation, and maintenance of any vehicle with a capacity of ten or less passengers used for the transportation of school students, when such vehicles are owned, operated, or owned and operated by any school district or privately owned or operated under contract with any school district in this state. Similar rules and regulations shall be adopted and promulgated for operators of such vehicles as provided in section 79-607; (14) Accept, on behalf of the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired, formerly the Nebraska School for the Visually Handicapped, devises of real property or donations or bequests of other property, or both, if in its judgment any such devise, donation, or bequest is for the best interest of the center or the students receiving services from the center, or both, and irrigate or otherwise improve any such real estate when in the board's judgment it would be advisable to do so; and (15) Upon acceptance of any devise, donation, or bequest as provided in this section, administer and carry out such devise, donation, or bequest in accordance with the terms and conditions thereof. If not prohibited by the terms and conditions of any such devise, donation, or bequest, the board may sell, convey, exchange, or lease property so devised, donated, or bequeathed upon such terms and conditions as it deems best and remit all money derived from any such sale or lease to the State Treasurer for credit to the State Department of Education Trust Fund. Each member of the Legislature shall receive a copy of the report required by subdivision (7) of this section by making a request for it to the commissioner. None of the duties prescribed in this section shall prevent the board from exercising such other duties as in its judgment may be necessary for the proper and legal exercise of its obligations.
Rule 12
Regulations and procedures for exempting schools for which parents elect not to meet legal requirements for school approval and accreditation for other than religious reasons. Rule 12 affidavits state that the requirements for school approval and accreditation required by law interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal guardians in directing their child's education.
Rule 13
Regulations and procedures for exempting schools for which parents elect not to meet legal requirements for state approval and accreditation. Rule 13 affidavits state that the requirements for school approval and accreditation required by law violate the parents' or legal guardians' sincerely held religious beliefs.

Case Law & Legal Opinions Back to Top
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."

Summaries of State Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Exempt (Home) School Program: General Information
Nebraska Department of Education
In Nebraska, "home schools" are referred to as exempt schools and are considered non-approved or non-accredited schools. On this site you will find information pertaining to the law affecting exempt schools, the rules and regulations, frequently asked questions, resources, and the forms used to file for an exemption. Provided by the Nebraska Department of Education.
Nebraska Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Nebraska. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Nebraska.
Nebraska Homeschooling Laws
NHEN
National Home Education Network's listing of the Nebraska state laws governing the education of children in home schools.
Synopsis of Nebraska Education Statutes Applicable to Home Education
Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA)
This summary of the statutes relating to home education are provided by Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA).


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