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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. All current ESEA Flexibility Waivers will be null and void as of August 1, 2016. However, any schools currently identified as priority and focus schools must be maintained for the 2016-17 school year. Additional information about ESSA may found HERE.


The U.S. Department of Education offered each State educational agency (SEA) the opportunity to request flexibility on behalf of itself, its local educational agencies (LEAs), and its schools, in order to better focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction. This voluntary opportunity provided educators and State and local leaders with flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. This flexibility was intended to build on and support the significant State and local reform efforts already underway in critical areas such as transitioning to college- and career-ready standards and assessments; developing systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and evaluating and supporting teacher and principal effectiveness.

The initial North Carolina Flexibility Request was approved by the Department on May 29, 2012.

2015 ESEA Approval Letter
(pdf, 687kb)

2015 ESEA Flexibility Request Renewal (Last Updated January 30, 2015)

2014 ESEA Flexibility Request Renewal (Last Updated August 4, 2014)
(pdf, 1.4mb)

USED Response ESEA Flexibility
(pdf, 100kb)

2012 ESEA Flexibility Request (Last Updated May 24, 2012)
(pdf, 3.7mb)

USED Approval May 29, 2012
(pdf, 343kb)

USED Letter: Implementing NC's Approved Request June 29, 2012
(pdf, 180kb)

Frequently Asked Questions
(pdf, 574kb)

ESEA Waiver Implications
(pdf, 180kb)

2014-15 Missing Participation Target Focus Schools (Year 3)