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The Politics of Educational Reform

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 9:00am to 10:20am
Spring 2022

In normal political times in Latin America, pro-reform coalitions in education are weak. Parents are dispersed, business is not interested, and the middle class has exited public education. Therefore, in this relatively empty policy space, reform opponents — clientelist politicians and teacher unions — are consequently stronger. They managed to block reform in Mexico. Cases of successful reform after 2000, especially to teacher careers, depended on either: 1) electoral mobilization following a systemic shock (Ecuador and Chile) or 2) technocracy abetted by accommodating unions and weak political parties (Colombia and Peru).

Ben Schneider is the Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Brazil program. Prior to joining the department in 2008, Schneider taught at Princeton University and Northwestern University.

Professor Schneider's teaching and research interests fall within the general fields of comparative politics, political economy, and Latin American politics. His books include Reinventing Leviathan: The Politics of Administrative Reform in Developing Countries (2003), Business Politics and the State in 20th Century Latin America (2004), Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America: Business, Labor, and the Challenges of Equitable Development (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Designing Industrial Policy in Latin America: Business-Government Relations and the New Developmentalism (2015), and New Order and Progress: Democracy and Development in Brazil (Oxford University Press, 2016). He also has published on topics such as democratization, technocracy, education politics, the developmental state, business groups, industrial policy, and comparative bureaucracy.