The Letter of the Law

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When Congress was writing the Department of Education Organization Act in 1979, lawmakers wanted to allay fears that the new Cabinet-level agency would bring Washington's political meddling into local classrooms. So language was written into the law, below, that strictly forbids the department from wielding any control over curriculum. The General Education Provisions Act, a law dating back to 1965, restricts "any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States from exercising control over curriculum."

Public Law 96-88—Oct. 17, 1979

Sec. 103
No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law.

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