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School choice in Nebraska

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School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.[1][2]

School choice options in Nebraska include: homeschooling, online learning, private schools and mandatory public school open enrollment policies.

Educational choice options

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Charter schools

As of the 2014-2015 school year, Nebraska was one of seven states without a charter school law.[3]

Magnet schools

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Magnet schools, sometimes called theme-based schools, are public schools of choice that use a specialized subject area or innovative learning approach to attract students from more diverse backgrounds. In fact, magnet schools began as a way to desegregate public schools through choice rather than force. Magnet schools can reach beyond the barriers of school districts, but they are still managed and funded publicly by local districts, even though they are centered around specialized themes and subjects.[4][5]

Nebraska has several magnet schools in the state. Approximately 25 of them are located within the Omaha public school system. Neither an exact number of schools nor demographic information is available from any known state or federal source. It is unclear why the National Center for Education Statistics did not report any magnet schools in Nebraska for the 2011-2012 school year.[6][7]


An estimated 8,833 students were home-schooled in Nebraska during the 2012-2013 school year, which represented approximately 2.67 percent of all students in the state.[8]

Home schools are called exempt schools in Nebraska. They are considered non-approved or non-accredited schools. In order to homeschool their children, parents or guardians must file for exemption with the Commissioner of Education 30 days before their school district begins classes for the new school year. They must file for exemption annually after that by August 1. Then, before the exempt school may begin, parents or guardians must submit a calendar for the school year detailing a minimum of 1,032 hours of instruction for elementary school students and 1,080 hours for secondary school students. A summary of instruction for language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and health must also be submitted, as well as a list of all potential instructional monitors.[9]

Online learning

Nebraska does not have any fully online public schools. However, it does offer students a combination of blended learning, videoconferencing and supplemental online classes.[10]

Private Schools

In the 2011-2012 school year 37,073 students, or 12.3 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 207 private schools. Nebraska ranks 13th highest in the U.S. in private school attendance.[11]

Public school open enrollment

The state has two public school open enrollment policies: a mandatory inter-district policy and a mandatory intra-district policy. The mandatory inter-district policy pertains mostly to the Omaha metropolitan area school districts. These policies allow students to transfer once prior to graduation, not including students moving to a different school attendance area. Schools are only allowed to opt out of this policy if there is no space available for the student. Priority is given to students whose siblings attend the school and then to students who would contribute to socioeconomic diversity at the school.[12]

Education ballot measures

See also: School choice on the ballot and List of Nebraska ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Nebraska.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Nebraska + Education + Choice"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Nebraska Education News Feed

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See also

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