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April 28, 2006

Statewide Databases and Homeschool Privacy

The new Nebraska Student and Staff Records System (NSSRS) is supposed to be the comprehensive source of data for students. Beginning in the 2006-07 school year, NSSRS will replace many other data collections, including the school census. All student data is to be tied together by unique student identifiers, which were assigned to public school students last year.

School districts are expected to gather student data and pass it on to the Nebraska Department of Education, where it will be reviewed, approved, and stored in the "production data warehouse" for use by school officials.

One of the most important activities that will be processed through the data warehouse will be the information used in the calculation of state aid to education. In the past, districts have summarized and reported their own student attendance figures to NDE. From now on, however, the money that districts get will be determined by counting students in the database. That means local school districts have a new incentive to put homeschoolers into the statewide student database.

If your son or daughter is enrolled in a public school or accredited private school (whether full or part time), that student's records are supposed to be permanently stored in the NSSRS. Homeschool students are not supposed to be included in the database—yet. HSLDA will be monitoring this issue carefully to make sure it stays that way.