Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) issues written guidance to support the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It is important to remember that guidance documents are non-binding both in law and in practice.

In general, OESE’s written guidance provides clarification regarding implementation of the ESSA. OESE typically issues written guidance, sometimes in the form of letters, in response to trending issues raised in the field by parents, educators, advocacy organizations, state educational agencies, and other interested parties.

OESE also issues broader written guidance in the form of memos, Dear Colleague Letters, or frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents, as determined appropriate, based on:

  • Information gathered through OESE’s oversight of implementation of the ESSA by state educational agencies.
  • Stakeholder-identified needs for clarification of the ESSA’s provisions.
  • Needs identified due to new statutory or regulatory provisions or court cases.

wdt_ID Unique ID Program Office Title Summary Date Issued Date Posted Topic Category
1 TBD OESE Joint communication from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education Letter to Chief State School Officers on upholding our values and advance the goal of educational excellence 10/09/2020 Joint Letter to Chief State School Officers Memorandum
2 TBD OESE Letter inviting States to request a waiver of certain requirements of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program for 2020-2021 This letter invites State educational agencies to request a waiver for the 21st CCLC program in the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19 09/18/2020 21st Century Community Learning Center Policy Letter
3 TBD OESE Optional State template for 21st Century Community Learning Center Waiver for 2020-2021 This template is an example that may be used for the submission of a request of waivers under the 21st CCLC program in the 2020-2021 school year 09/18/2020 21st Century Community Learning Center Template
4 OESE-2020-21 OESE PowerPoint presentation for OESE’s Webinar: Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Schools This is the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied OESE’s August 20, 2020 webinar for State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and the public on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. The webinar advises students and teachers of their constitutionally protected rights to prayer and religious expression in public schools, as outlined in the Department’s guidance. 08/20/2020 Constitutionally protected prayer
5 OESE-2020-13 SSA Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak This fact sheet outlines States’ responsibilities to English learners (ELs) and their parents during the extended school closures and, in some cases, the move to remote learning2 due to the national emergency caused by the novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 05/18/2020 English Learners; COVID-19 Fact Sheet
6 OESE-2020-14 OIE Office of Indian Education (OIE) Formula/Title VI Flexibilities Letter This letter describes flexibilities related to formula grants awarded under Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), for existing fiscal year (FY) 2019 (school year 2019-2020) awards, as well as for applications for new FY 2020 (school year 2020- 2021) awards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 05/13/2020 Title VI, Office of Indian Education; COVID-19 Dear Colleague Letter
7 OESE-2020-15 OME Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 While Serving Migratory Children The fact sheet provides information to assist State educational agencies and local operating agencies in determining how to continue to identify eligible migratory children and provide services to address their needs, while taking into consideration the health, safety, and well-being of staff and migratory families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 05/11/2020 Title I, Part C; Migrant Education Program; COVID-19 Fact Sheet
8 OESE-2020-11 OESE Frequently Asked Questions about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) The purpose of this document is to answer Frequently Asked Questions about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund). Under the GEER Fund, established in the CARES Act1, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) awards grants to Governors for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education related entities with emergency assistance as a result of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 05/01/2020 CARES Act; Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) Frequently Asked Questions
9 OESE-2020-12 OESE Frequently Asked Questions about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) The purpose of this document is to answer Frequently Asked Questions related to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). Under the ESSER Fund, established as part of the Education Stabilization Fund in the CARES Act, 1 State educational agencies (SEAs) will award subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to address the impact that the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation. 05/01/2020 CARES Act; Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) Frequently Asked Questions
10 OESE-2020-10 OESE Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Non-Public Schools Under the CARES Act Programs The purpose of this document is to provide information about equitable services for students and teachers in non-public schools under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). 04/30/2020 CARES Act; Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; Equitable Services Frequently Asked Questions
Program Office Topic Category

Other than statutory and regulatory requirements included in the document, the contents of this guidance do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Last Modified: 12/04/2020