Scope of ESSA State Plan Peer Review Reduced


On Wednesday, March 22nd, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) hosted a webinar for State Education Agencies (SEAs) related to issues of submission of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plans and Peer Review of those plans once submitted. While an ESSA State Plan, if consolidated, should include nine ESSA programs, only three ESSA programs will receive peer review. Those that will receive peer review are:

  • Title I, Part A;
  • Title III; and
  • Title VII, Subpart B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.


The reason provided by USED for the limited number of programs subject to peer reviewed is that these programs are the only programs that have statutory language requiring SEA plans to be peer reviewed.


The nine programs that may be included in an SEA’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan are:

  1. Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies
  2. Title I, Part C: Education of Migratory Children
  3. Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
  4. Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction
  5. Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement
  6. Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  7. Title IV, Part B: 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  8. Title V, Part B, Subpart 2: Rural and Low-Income School Program
  9. Title VII, Subpart B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (McKinney-Vento Act)


Peer review is the process used by USED to have national experts and education stakeholders review ESSA State Plans to ensure that they meet the intent and requirements of the law. Peer reviewer applications were originally due in January but the deadline for applications was extended into February shortly after the Trump administration took office. Peer reviewers have yet to be identified by USED, however, USED reported that they are working on revising the process and will notify those applicants selected to be peer reviewers as soon as possible. Peer reviewer identities will not be revealed until peer review of all ESSA State Plans is complete.


If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at 425.977.2100, Option 3 or email at


Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.