Secretary DeVos Approves Six ESSA State Plans

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US Department of Education

Jan. 19, 2018
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Secretary DeVos Approves Six ESSA State Plans

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of six consolidated state plans—Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Montana and New Hampshire—under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Today’s approvals bring the total to 35 states whose ESSA plans have been approved.

“I am pleased to approve these plans which comply with the requirements of the law,” said Secretary DeVos. “I encourage states 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 each state's approved plan as highlighted by each state:


  • Recognizes schools making significant progress with traditionally underserved subgroups through its Closing Gaps indicator.
  • Focuses on the whole child through its College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which measures student access to fine arts education, world language instruction, physical education, AP/IB enrollment and career pathways.

“Thousands of Georgians—parents, students, educators, policymakers, members of the business community—gave us their feedback as we worked to create our state’s ESSA plan,” said Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods. “We listened and heard that Georgians want a K-12 education system that supports the whole child; a system that produces students who are not just college- and career-ready, but ready for life. This plan is a direct response to that feedback, and reflects our continued focus on expanding opportunities for Georgia’s students.”


  • Aligns its state education plan with state strategic planning in order to develop a unified vision for public education in Hawaii inclusive of the state’s unique context.
  • Recognizes chronic absenteeism as an early indicator for underperformance and addresses it through inclusion of a chronic absenteeism measure in its accountability system.

“The goals and measures of success outlined in our approved state plan show Hawaii’s continued commitment to providing equitable and accessible education, and empowers our educators to innovate and design schools that meet the needs of their communities,” said Hawaii State Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “This plan is a reflection of the voices of our students, teachers, parents, administrators and community partners who came forward to offer their recommendations on the direction of public education in Hawaii.”


  • Closes the gap in student achievement in English/language arts and mathematics for all student subgroups by 50 percent by 2023.
  • Uses multiple measures to evaluate the college and career readiness of its high schoolers, such as performance in advanced courses and earning dual credit or an industry certification. For its elementary students, the state plan will measure both student attendance and growth in student attendance over time. 

“Today is a great day for Indiana,” said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. “Our ESSA plan reflects the input and perspective of many stakeholders in communities across our state. From the beginning, we set out to build a plan that responded to the needs of Hoosier students. From our clear accountability system to our innovative, locally-driven approach to school improvement, our ESSA plan was designed to support student success.”


  • By 2030, 95 percent of all students will graduate within four years and 75 percent will be proficient in English language arts and mathematics.
  • Kansas will create a system that calculates annual meaningful differentiation for student subgroups, school buildings and school districts using five identified indicators: academic proficiency, performance gaps, English language proficiency, graduation (applicable to high schools only) and student success.

“This is an exciting time of opportunity for education in our state,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson. “The Kansas State Board of Education has launched a bold, new vision for education. We are completely changing the way we think about and approach education, and this is reflected in the rigorous goals outlined in Kansas’ ESSA plan.”


  • Closes achievement gaps by prioritizing individualized student learning.
  • Enriches professional development opportunities through Montana’s online Teacher Learning Hub for administrators and teachers across the state.

“Montana’s ESSA plan was created through our state’s commitment to local control and community input,” said Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. “We are taking innovative approaches to student success through promoting college and career readiness, and expanding post-secondary pathways to prepare students to be ‘Montana Ready.’ Focusing on math achievement, STEM, and CTE education beginning at earlier ages and giving local schools flexibility to implement these goals are critical to providing opportunities for ALL Montana students to succeed.”

 New Hampshire

  • Aligns its state education goals to state workforce goals such that 65 percent of all residents ages 25-64 will attain a postsecondary degree or work-based credential by 2025.
  • Creates college and career readiness indicators for high school recognizing multiple pathways for students, including measuring dual enrollment, performance on national assessments that exceeds a college-ready benchmark, and earning industry recognized credentials, among others.

“I am excited about the approach we have taken in developing our ESSA Consolidated State Plan. This plan includes the excellent work done in our schools, as well as engaging a broad range of community stakeholders in the success of our students,” said New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut. We have made a major shift to emphasize growth as a foundational measure. We have also incorporated a broad range of success measures that reflect and respect that students may have different paths toward successful careers.”