When I worked in the U.S. Department of Education in the early 1990s, I was frequently reminded by colleagues and counsel that the Department was forbidden by law from interfering into what was taught in the schools. When the Department made grants to professional groups of teachers and scholars to create “voluntary national standards,” I made a point of never interfering in their work. I extolled the value of having standards that states, districts, and schools might find useful but made clear that the decision to use or not to use the standards was strictly voluntary. There was no thought that the Department could advocate for the standards or use money to bribe states to adopt them. That would have been illegal.
This is what the law says:
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