ESEA Flexibility


The U.S. Department of Education is inviting each State educational agency (SEA) to request flexibility on behalf of itself, its local educational agencies, and schools, in order to better focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction. This voluntary opportunity will provide 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.


On September 6, the Bureau of Indian Education, Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia submitted requests to the U.S. Department of Education for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind.

ESEA Flexibility Monitoring

The Department will monitor each State approved for ESEA flexibility to ensure the State implements its plan fully, effectively, and in a manner that is consistent with the approved request and the requirements of ESEA flexibility, while supporting the State in their work to improve achievement for all students. The Department's monitoring of ESEA flexibility for the 2012–2013 school year will be broken into three components. The materials provided below are related to the first component, "Part A," which will focus on helping the Department gain a deeper understanding of each State's goals and approach to implementing ESEA flexibility; ensuring that critical elements of each State's plan are in place; and identifying any areas for additional technical assistance. Information on the second and third component is forthcoming.

  • ESEA Flexibility Monitoring Part A Protocol [MS Word, 1.79MB] | [accessible MS Word, 266KB]
  • ESEA Flexibility Part A Monitoring Report Template, [MS Word, 118KB]
  • Webinar, August 1, 2012 – ESEA Flexibility Monitoring, Part A: An Overview

ESEA Flexibility Requests

On February 28, 2012, 26 States and D.C. [PDF, 177KB] submitted requests for ESEA flexibility. Peer reviewers for the March 2012 review can be found here [MS Word, 39KB].

Currently, 33 States have been approved for ESEA flexibility. The list of peer reviewers for the December 2011 review is here [MS Word, 33KB]. Peer reviewers for the October 2012 review are listed here [MS Word, 33KB].

ESEA flexibility requests and related documents are located here.

ESEA Flexibility Documents


If you have questions regarding ESEA Flexibility that are not answered in the attached documents, or as SEA teams you would like to schedule a time to speak with Department staff about ESEA flexibility requests, please contact us at

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