Pursuant to the Nebraska public records laws, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) will provide access to or copies of NDE records upon written request, unless the records are specifically required to be kept confidential or the records are permitted to be kept confidential and the NDE chooses to withhold them. [Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-712 through 84-712.09]
Pursuant to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and implementing regulations, the NDE will provide access to education records it maintains relating to an individual student to the student’s parents or to the student if he or she qualifies as an “eligible student” under the Act. Access to such records will not be provided to others without the consent of the student’s parents or of the eligible student, except as provided below.
The NDE may disclose information from students’ education records if the information is not personally identifiable; for example, if the information is in aggregate form and appropriately masked. The NDE may disclose personally identifiable information from student records without the consent of a parent, guardian or eligible student permitted by FERPA and/or the IDEA subject to all other applicable privacy laws. [20 U.S.C. 1232g and 34 C.F.R. 99.]
Pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-776 and the Memorandum of Understanding approved by the State Board on July 8, 2010, between the Nebraska Department of Education, the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Colleges, and the Nebraska Community Colleges; the NDE will share individual student data with these entities for the purposes of evaluation of and research related to public prekindergarten, elementary, secondary and postsecondary education to improve education in Nebraska to the extent and in the manner permitted by FERPA, subject to all other applicable privacy laws. In addition, Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-2,104(4) provides that whenever applicable law permits the sharing of student data, records and information amongst one another, then each school district, ESU, and learning community shall comply and that the State Board shall promulgate regulations to require this uniform sharing amongst districts, ESUs, learning communities and NDE. The State Board adopted NDE Rule 6, “Regulations and Standards for Uniform Sharing of Student Data, Records and Information,” which first became effective 11/04/2014. The State Board provided that compliance with this Rule is a condition of continuing accreditation under NDE Rule 10 (for school districts) and Rule 84 (for ESUs).
When publicly disclosing aggregate data, the NDE will protect the confidentiality of all individuals’ information by, at a minimum, masking data cells containing fewer than 10 individuals or 100% of individuals (except as may be otherwise provided or allowed by law, regulation or interpretation of the United States Department of Education).
The State Board does believe that, to the extent permitted by and in accordance with all requirements of law and regulation, NDE should share student data, including when appropriate personally identifiable student information, with other public agencies and non-governmental entities when it determines such entities are conducting useful studies for or on behalf of educational agencies or institutions to (i) develop, validate or administer predictive tests; (ii) administer student aid programs; or (iii) improve instruction in Nebraska.
Individuals’ social security numbers will be collected and maintained only as permitted by Section 7 of the federal Privacy Act. [5 U.S.C. 552a (note)]
Information on students with disabilities will be maintained and protected as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and implementing regulations. [20 U.S.C. 1412(a) (8) and 1417(c), and 34 C.F.R. 300.123 and 34 C.F.R. 300.610 to 300.627]
Information on eligibility for free and reduced price meals or free milk (poverty information) will be maintained and protected as required by the federal National School Lunch Act and implementing regulations. [42 U.S.C. 1758 and 7 C.F.R. 245.8]
Records containing personal information regarding Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program clients and applicants for services shall be protected, used and maintained in accordance with federal VR program regulations, include 34 C.F.R. 361.38. Similarly, the Disabilities Determinations Service (DDS) office and the Assistive Technology Partnership (ATP) program shall comply with all requirements regarding confidentiality, use and access to personal information concerning clients and consumers.