Education Options in Nevada

The compulsory school attendance age for children in Nevada is between 7 and 18 (unless the child has graduated).  That means that by the time a child turns 7 he/she must be enrolled in a public or private school or the parent must file an Notification of Intent to Homeschool with the local school district in which the child resides.  Parents can choose to voluntarily begin their child’s academic training at age 5 (Kindergarten) or 6 (Kindergarten or First Grade) by enrolling them in a public or private school or even homeschooling the child (but no paperwork need be submitted until the child turns 7 years old).  There was a fourth “school” option adopted by the 2015 NV Legislature but repealed in 2019.  The “ESA Opt-in Child,” was never funded nor operational

The video above is a short primer on the Education Options available in Nevada but let’s get into the nuts and bolts below.  Understanding “who” funds the education of the child is an important part of choosing the best education option… government funding = government control.  Parent/private funding = parent/private school control.  This companion chart, Nevada Parental Choice Options.2019.June lays out the details showing “Who” is in control of the education dependent on the “choice” of education option the parent makes.  So, let’s get started.

First, what NV laws compel children to be educated and by whom?

  • Compulsory Attendance of all children in a Public School statute: NRS 392.040
  • Exemptions From Public School Attendance statute: NRS 392.070

Next, what types of “schools” are legal in Nevada and what is their funding source?

Government Regulated/Funded (taxpayer) “School Choice” Education Options:

  • PUBLIC SCHOOLS – children enrolled in these options are “public school students” whether being educated in a classroom or online at home.
  • CHOICE/OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS – public school children from low-income families may apply for a scholarship to attend a NV brick & mortar private school. NRS 388D.250-.280
  • OPT-IN CHILD (Education Savings Account – ESA) – NOTE: Nevada ESA and Opt-in child laws were REPEALED June, 2019, the program, adopted in 2015,was never funded nor operational. In Nevada there are once again only three ways to meet the compulsory attendance law; public, private or home school (NRS392.040, NRS 392.070) and the now defunct ESA will not be discussed further on this page.  However, for historical perspective, a good article discussing the difference between “homeschooling” and an ESA Opt-in Child doing a home-based education program is Kleenex vs. Puffs; Homeschool vs. ESA Program. NHN tracked the legislative status of the ESA, CLICK HERENRS 388D.100-.140

Non-Government Funded Education Options (government regulation varies):

  • PRIVATE SCHOOLS (tuition supported) NRS 394– includes “Licensed” and “Exempt” Private Schools; both regulated to different degrees by the NV State Board of Education and NV Department of Education.  Enrolled children are “Private School Students.”
    • Note:  A Private School accepting a Choice/Opportunity Scholarship student has additional government regulations to follow regarding these students.
  • HOMESCHOOL (self-funded by the parent)NRS 388D.010-.070 – Parents take full responsibility to provide education (accredited or non-accredited) to the child at home or by utilizing educational resources within the community or online.  Homeschooling is not governed by the NV public school system. Should a parent fail to provide education to the child when signing a Notification of Intent to Homeschool; they answer to a NV Court.

Online Charter Schools are “Public School at Home” (PSAH) programs that many people call “homeschooling” – what makes them different?

  • Charter Schools, whether brick and mortar or virtual (online), represent SCHOOL
    CHOICE in the government funded Public School System.

    • Students enrolled in a virtual (online) charter school are public school students and the parents are unpaid Teacher’s Aides. Parents supervise assigned school work, but they do not choose or develop any part of the curriculum, nor do they grade their student’s work or promote them to the next grade level. The PSAH Charter School is “responsible” for the education of the child.
    • Accountability is “based largely on performance on assessments aligned to state content standards”, and works “under the auspice of guaranteeing all students the opportunity for and access to a challenging and meaningful educational experience.” (Dept of Education website)
  • Homeschools by law are separate from the public school system.
    • Under Nevada Law (NRS 392.070, 388D.010-.070) parents choosing to homeschool take “full responsibility for the education of the child while the child is being homeschooled”, NRS 388D.020 subsection 5, receiving no public funding.
    • A homeschool parent has managerial control and legally directs the education of the child by choosing the curriculum, facilitating the educational process and determining the academic needs, including promotion to the next grade level of the child, as well as issuing a high school diploma.
    • Thus, accountability for the child’s education is to the parent, who in turn may be
      accountable to a court of law if required to do so (NRS 388D.050 subsection 2). Homeschool parents believe these are direct advantages for choosing homeschooling over virtual charter schools.

With the 2007 Homeschool Freedom law now in effect in Nevada, NHN hopes that misconceptions and misstatements such as “homeschooling through an online charter school” will be recognized as incongruous. We applaud parents who enroll their child in charter schools for taking direct interest in their child’s education, and encourage the State Board to accommodate them in every way possible within the public school system. Though homeschooling and public school at home are fundamentally and legally different, the two share the intrinsically beneficial advantage of direct parental involvement in a child’s education.

No matter the choice of where their child attends school, Nevada parents deserve to know all their options.  NHN endeavors to make this information available to the public through our website so that parents can make the best decision for their children’s academic success.