In May 2012, North Carolina was granted flexibility waivers from many of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provisions. This flexibility, granted by the U.S. Department of Education, makes significant changes to North Carolina’s implementation of Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s requirements especially in the areas of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), parent notifications, public school choice and Supplemental Educational Services (SES). These waivers will allow North Carolina’s public school system to move forward with strengthened College- and Career-Ready expectations for all students, new ways to hold Title I schools accountable for students' academic proficiency, and new initiatives to support effective instruction and leadership.

Many of the former strict federal requirements regarding AYP and sanctions for schools that do not make AYP are no longer required statewide and are now local school district decisions. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, districts are no longer required to identify Title I schools for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring. The waivers also remove the requirements that districts must use federal Title I funds to offer public school choice and supplemental educational services (SES). Instead, districts will be able to use Title I funds to improve student learning and increase the quality of instruction in all Title I schools.