Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Every Student Succeeds Act

Information regarding California's plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorizing the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the 2001 reauthorization of ESEA.

Information regarding the ESSA and the development of California's plan to implement the new federal education act is provided below. New information and guidance will be added as it becomes available. If you would like to be notified when new information is available, please join the California Department of Education (CDE) ESSA listserv by sending a blank e-mail message to join-essa@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

ESSA State Plan | Waivers | California Correspondence and Resources | ED Correspondence and Resources


ESSA State Plan

California's ESSA State Plan (DOCX; Posted 1-Mar-2022) Approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in January 2022

For previous versions of the State Plan, associated drafts, and other information relevant to development of the State Plan, please visit the ESSA Initial State Plan Development web page.

Communication with the U.S. Department of Education Regarding Previous ESSA State Plan Amendments

On January 12, 2022, the CDE received two letters from ED that provided updates on two sets of amendments to California’s ESSA State Plan.

The first letter denied the amendments approved by the California State Board of Education (SBE) in January 2021 regarding the Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) modified methods business rules for calculating the Academic Achievement and Graduation Rate indicators. However, this letter also cleared a prior issue related to California’s business rules for calculating the participation rate for the Academic Achievement indicator.

The second letter from ED approved November 2021 amendments from that clarified the definitions of ineffective teacher and out of field teacher and provided updated data.

Waivers

General Waiver for Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) Program

On March 9, 2022, the CDE will seek SBE approval for submitting a General Waiver to ED in order to waive ESSA requirements to ensure the integrity of the DASS program in our state. This waiver submission will be in response to the January 2022 letter sent by ED which denied the 2021 amendments to California’s ESSA State Plan regarding the DASS modified methods business rules for calculating the Academic Achievement and Graduation Rate indicators. Waivers allow States to bypass certain statutory and regulatory requirements if the State can demonstrate that the waiver will improve student achievement.

This waiver will focus on the reasons why California’s current DASS program is the most effective way to fairly evaluate the success or progress of alternative schools that serve high-risk students. Also, the proposed General Waiver will detail the rationale for developing modified methods for the Graduation Rate Indicator and Academic Indicator. The proposal will also demonstrate that the modified measures do not impact California’s ability to meaningfully differentiate among schools and that changing these measures would lead to providing fewer resources to schools who have the greatest need. Lastly, the waiver will also communicate why the ED’s suggested considerations in the January 2022 denial would not be effective for proper accountability determinations in California. The CDE will ask ED to waive the requirements of Section 1111(c)(4)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which ED states requires the annual meaningful differentiation of all schools based on the same indicators and standards in the State’s accountability system, and Section 1111(c)(4)(B)(iii), which requires the use of a four-year cohort graduation rate.

As required by federal law, the CDE seeks public comment on this proposal through March 30, 2022. Public comment or any questions may be sent to ESSA@cde.ca.gov.

Communication with the U.S. Department of Education Regarding General Waiver on Statewide Assessments

On April 2, 2021, the CDE and the SBE sent a letter to ED to confirm a conversation between the CDE, SBE, and ED in which California affirmed that we would continue to offer state summative assessments. In response, ED staff indicated that California would not need to submit a general assessment waiver.

On April 6, 2021 ED responded to the letter from CDE and the SBE and confirmed that California would not need to submit a general assessment waiver at this time.

Waiver for Accountability, School Identification, and Reporting Requirements for School Year 2020–21

On February 22, 2021, ED invited states to request a waiver for the 2020–2021 school year of accountability, school identification, and related reporting requirements in the ESEA. ED published an optional state waiver template on March 8, 2021.

On April 2, 2021, the CDE and SBE, submitted the waiver template for accountability, school identification, and related reporting requirements pursuant to section 8401 of the ESEA.

ED provided California with formal approval for this waiver on April 6, 2021.

COVID-19 Federal Funding Flexibility Waiver

On April 3, 2020, ED invited states to apply for a Federal Funding Flexibility Waiver as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Additionally, on December 2020, ED invited states to request a similar waiver under the ESEA section 8401(b) for the 2020–21 school year and fiscal year (FY) 2020 Title IV, Part A funds.

On July 2, 2021 ED invited states to apply for a waiver to allow LEAs to carry over more than 15 percent of its fiscal year FY 2020 Title I, Part A funds. Additionally, the waiver allow California to extend for itself and its subgrantees the period of availability of FY 2019 funds for programs included in the consolidated State Plan.

More information about these waivers can be found on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Federal Funding Flexibility web page.

COVID-19 Assessment and Accountability Waiver

On March 26, 2020, the California SBE and the CDE, under ESEA Section 8401(b), requested a waiver to ED for the 2019–20 school year of the following sections:

  • Assessment requirements in section 1111(b)(2);
  • Accountability and school identification requirements in sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D); and
  • Reporting requirements related to assessments and accountability in section 1111(h) as enumerated in the template

A public comment period is open through April 15, 2020, for interested parties and members of the public to submit comments or questions concerning this Waiver request. Please submit comments or questions by email to ESSA@cde.ca.gov or by mail to the California Department of Education, Government Affairs Division, 1430 N Street, Suite 5602, Sacramento, CA 95814-5901.

English Learner Progress Indicator Waiver

The California State Board of Education directed the CDE to submit a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education related to the English Learner Progress Indicator. The CDE submitted the waiver request on May 16, 2018.

California Correspondence and Resources


U.S. Department of Education Correspondence and Resources

U.S. Department of Education ESSA Web Page External link opens in new window or tab.

ESSA Guidance

ESSA Regulations

Assessment Final Regulations

Accountability, State Plans, and Data Reporting Regulations External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; Dated 28-Nov-2016)

Letters from ED

All letters from ED related to the development of the State Plan can be found on the ESSA Initial State Plan Development web page.

Questions:   ESSA Team | ESSA@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0843
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Trending in Every Student Succeeds Act
Recently Posted in Every Student Succeeds Act
No items posted in the last 60 days.