U.S. Education Secretary DeVos Approves Nebraska and North Carolina ESSA State Plans

Washington, DC - - (June 5, 2018) - - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of Nebraska and North Carolina’s consolidated state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“I am pleased to approve these plans which comply with the requirements of the law,” said Secretary DeVos. “I encourage education leaders in Nebraska and North Carolina to continue to embrace the flexibility afforded them in ESSA and to use their plans as a starting point, rather than a finish line, to improve outcomes for all students.”

Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students.

The following are some of the unique elements from Nebraska’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:
  • Establishes ambitious, but attainable long-term goals in alignment with its strategic vision and direction. The state seeks to reduce the number of non-proficient students in each subgroup by at least 50 percent within 10 years
  • Plans to include chronic absenteeism, science and the evidence-based analysis indicator to measure school quality or student success. English Learner proficiency will be used as a new stand-alone indicator
  • Driven by ESSA’s consultation process and seeking to address disparities across and within school districts, Nebraska is collaboratively establishing statewide, shared definitions for “educational equity” and “leading for equity.”

“The Nebraska Department of Education is pleased to have worked closely with the U.S. Department of Education to align Nebraska’s ESSA plan involving federal supports for school improvement with the state’s accountability system, Accountability for a Quality Education Today and Tomorrow,” said Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt. “The combined approach strengthens Nebraska’s ability to address local school system needs with customized supports for school improvement. Nebraska will be able to leverage state and federal resources for schools most in need of support for improvement based on strong equity principles established in both the historical context of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Nebraska’s mission to prepare all students for learning, earning and living. ”

Below are unique elements from North Carolina’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:
  • 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-F grades based on proficiency measures and student-growth targets.

“Our ESSA plan is consistent with our efforts to transform our education system to allow every student to follow the path to success that they decide best fits them,” said North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson. “We are changing our industrial-age practices of providing the same inputs and opportunities to all and moving to digital-age practices in which all students and educators have access to individualized learning experiences.”