Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Contact: Alex Charles

North Carolina Addendum Approval Letter

NC ESEA Waiver Public Comment

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is seeking public comment on a proposed waiver that will enable additional fiscal flexibility for FY 19 ESEA associated funds. The waiver is being made available to the public for review and comment for 30 days. Access to the draft version of the waiver is available using the link ESEA Fiscal Waiver.

Interested persons may submit their written comments by September 15, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST using the link below.

Proposed Waiver to offer additional fiscal flexibility for funds received under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)

Every Student Succeeds Act Approved in December 2015  
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and was approved by the U.S. Congress and signed into law in December 2015. ESSA reauthorizes the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

NC Plan Approved by U.S. Department of Education 

The U.S. Department has approved North Carolina’s plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The plan calls for the state to support individualized instruction and learning for both students and educators and continues to explore and promote emerging initiatives for personalized learning. ESSA provides the state with this opportunity via the commitment in the plan to continuous innovation for students and educators.

The state’s plan includes these key elements:

  • Provides a concise statement of the innovation the state expects for students, including using adaptive environments, personalized learning, and empowered educators.
  • Establishes 10-year goals for student performance using end-of-grade and end-of-course exams and goals for closing achievement gaps
  • Continues the School Performance Grades model, in which schools earn a A-F grades based on proficiency measures and student-growth targets.


Current ESSA Plan:

NC ESSA State Plan Amendment Final (March 29, 2023)


Previous ESSA Plan:

NC State Plan for the ESSA (June 16, 2020)

NC State Plan for the ESSA Approval Letter (June 5, 2018) 

NCDPI Submits ESSA Plan Revision for Approval (May 23, 2018)

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction today resubmitted the state's application for funding under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The revised version reflects additional changes requested by the U.S. Department of Education after the department submitted its first revision in February.

Federal reviewers requested a few adjustments in the state's plan for measuring high school performance and a more detailed examination of how the teaching force is distributed among schools across the state to better ensure equity for all students.

Revised State Plan for the ESSA with Tracked Changes (submitted on May 23, 2018)

NCDPI Submits Revised State Plan under the ESSA(February 9, 2018) 
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) submitted a revised State Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with tracked changes to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) on February 9, 2018. The revised State Plan responds to the USED’s response letter issued on December 13, 2017.

Read the response letter from the U.S. Department of Education for the specific items in the state’s plan requiring additional information or revision.

Also included with the response are peer-review feedback on the technical, educational and overall quality of the state plan:

Revised State Plan for the ESSA with Tracked Changes (submitted on February 9, 2018)

Text of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015

The ESSA Theory of Action. Text version download below. 
Theory of Action

Tab/Accordion Items

General Draft Timeline       
On December 1, 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to submit the Consolidated State Plan by the September 18, 2017, submission date. Therefore, the timeline below reflects the extended timeline for development of the plan.


January–June 2017
  • Conduct additional simulations of accountability model and finalize certain decisions
  • Continue receiving feedback and input on draft plan
  • Post new versions of draft plan when available. New template issued by the USED in March. New draft plan posted May 1 using new template.
  • Present to General Assembly Education Committee(s) and meet with legislators and staff
  • Monthly updates to the SBE

Mid-to-Late June


  • Post draft plan for 30-day public comment period

Mid-to-Late July


  • Review public comments and make appropriate changes to plan
  • Submit draft plan to Governor’s office for 30-day review period
July and August SBE Meetings
  • Discuss draft state plan with SBE
  • Incorporate details in plan that result from actions of the NC General Assembly
September 7, 2017    SBE Meeting
  • SBE approves the NC ESSA Plan
September 18, 2017
  • Submit state plan to the U.S. Department of Education

Letter from Governor Cooper to the SBE Chairman and State Superintendent (August 18, 2017)

Letter from SBE Chairman Bill Cobey to Governor Cooper (August 23, 2017)

Letter from Secretary DeVos on ESSA State Plans (March 13, 2017)        

Letter from Secretary DeVos on ESSA State Plans (February 10, 2017)

External Stakeholders

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Requests a Waiver to 34 C.F.R §200.6(c)(2)

Notice is hereby given that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will submit a request for waiver of section 34 C.F.R §200.6(c)(2) as it requires State Education Agencies to adhere to a 1.0 percent cap for the total number of students assessed Statewide in a subject area using an alternate assessment. Specifically, the state anticipates that it will exceed the cap under paragraph (c)(2) with respect to any subject for which assessments are administered under §200.2(a)(1) in any school year, and is requesting, pursuant to 34 C.F.R §200.6(c)(4), that the Secretary waive the cap for the relevant subject for one year.

View the North Carolina 1.0 Percent Alternate Assessment Participation Waiver.

Any individual or organization may submit written comments on the proposed waiver pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4) through January 7, 2019.