The construction of current scentific and technological knowledge in Latin American educational management is closely linked to the economic, political, and cultural conditions which characterize individual nations themselves and their international relations. As a consequence, a comprehensive study of educational administration is possible only through the creative cross-fertilization of contributions from different disciplines, especially pedagogy, organizational and administrative theory, cultural anthropology, and comparative political science.

Knowledge derived from pedagogy provides the conceptual and analytical elements to study the phenomena intrinsic to educational practice. Organizational and administrative theory is essential to the study of the design and management of educational institutions in the context of the economic, political, and cultural forces which determine educational practice both nationally and internationally. To study the external influence on the educational affairs of individual nations also requires adopting the conceptual and analytical perspectives of cultural anthropology and comparative political science, in order to correctly evaluate the causes and effects of cross-national circulation of knowledge in organizational theory and educational management. Given current international relations, cross- cultural exchange of knowledge is particularly relevant for developing countries, such as those of Latin America and the Caribbean.

This chapter analyses some of the conceptual and analytical challenges facing Latin American public administration and educational management in the context of today’s world economic and political order and offers valuable insights into the mediating role of international technical cooperation in the field of education, in light of the values of national identity and international equity.

Education and the New International Order1

Recent economic and political upheavals in the international order should prepare us for a twenty-first century marked by even more unpredictable changes. Among the most outstanding events is an increased social and economic freedom of choice, along with the establishment of new democratic governments in different parts of the world. In an unparalleled reconstructionist movement, the former Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe have returned to their cultural origins, breaking down the ideology of the centralized communist State and restoring cultural relevance as the basis for rebuilding free nations or associated States with new ethical foundations and new plans of action. As a result, the European Economic Community finds that it must redefine its regional role with reference to a new Europe. Likewise, the self-sufficient superpowers must adjust to an increasing worldwide integration based on a new geopolitical map and an enlarged commercial system. Consequently, the United States of America faces the challenge of re-evaluating both its international role and its regional leadership. At the same time, Japan and China lead the way in exerting a steady Asian influence —an influence that is expected to prevail in the world power matrix of the next century. In sum, we are witnessing the birth of a new age in world economy and politics, with a new awareness of the need for a free and equitable international system, one committed to promoting the quality of life and human security. Conceived in light of the cold war confrontation and an industrial era now in its terminal stage, the past world economic balance has given way to a new international reality. This reality points to an increasing multilateralization of world political and economic power that can enlarge the participation of the countries of the international community in the decision-making process as well as in the distribution of the economic and political benefits affecting the quality of life in all parts of the world. Such and aspiration is particularly pertinent to the developing areas such as Latin America and the Caribbean.

There are numerous conceptual and practical implications of the new international order for the social sciences, especially for education and school management. In the first place, it is important to overcome the dogmatic models of social science and political action which have traditionally inspired the theory and practice of education and school management everywhere. Of course, the great philosophical traditions of modern history will continue to exert an influence in social and educational theory-building efforts to the extent of their reconstructionist capacity. But beyond such an influence, vanguard intellectual circles in different parts of the world face the challenge of conceiving new alternatives to current social theories and practices, based on a higher degree of participation in decision-making processes that affect the collective destiny of mankind.

Historical evolution indicates that recent international transformations are the result of creative and collaborative action among many people and organized communities in different economic and cultural contexts. Such transformations are evidenced in daily life, in which the intentionally-organized human action of political and civil society is essential to the construction of a free and equitable world. Thus the great challenge we face today is that of making our way together toward the future, with effective and relevant social organizations capable of promoting, simultaneously, national identity and international equity. Our success will significantly depend on our creativity and organizational capacity, despite the rapid process of economic and political change in modern society. These observations are particularly relevant for theory-building and management practice in the field of education.

Recent economic and political transformations in the international context emphasize the need to overcome the traditional paradigms of education adopted in both East and West. In this sense, the historic confrontation between the positivist pedagogy of the West and the interactionist pedagogy of the East, analyzed in the previous chapter, needs to give way to educational solutions which combine the ideals of freedom and equity in specific cultural settings. Nevertheless, it is important to point out with Schwartzman2 that overcoming such dichotomic thought in the context of the international distension does not imply a unidimensional vision of political and educational values. On the contrary, the new world power matrix that we need to construct collectively must displace the dichotomic perspective as well as the unidimensional vision of politics and society, in order to give rise to a multidimensional or multiparadigmatic orientation with an increasing cultural content and an equitable action strategy based on democratic participation. Education, which is significantly affected by current economic and political forces, plays a central role in the reconstruction of the emerging international order. In fact, the importance of education cannot be underestimated; it is a decisive factor in the political and cultural rise or fall of nations and of human civilization as a whole. Therefore, creating educational systems that are relevant to citizens and effective for society is imperative to any national project of social and economic development and of political influence in international affairs. This priority is heightened in Latin America which, in order to defend its legitimate economic and political interests, needs to enlarge its international participation in those decisions that affect its quality of life, its scientific and technological capacity, and its educational and cultural development.

The fundamental importance of education in the reconstruction of Latin American nations in this context requires new conceptual and praxeological perspectives in the field of educational management. The traditional models and the old hypotheses rooted in the functionalist and reproductivist theories of organization and management no longer provide the required solutions in a world undergoing rapid transformation in social and educational organization. This new reality presents a conceptual and praxeological challenge of great proportions. To face it, we must agree to create new forms of organizing and managing education for excellence, with schools and universities effectively inserted in the global context of modern society. In this conceptual and praxeological framework, citizen participation becomes a paramount democratic strategy of management, with the aim of constructing a free and equitable society which will promote sustained human development and the quality of life.

New Challenges in Public Administration and in Educational Management

A review of the international literature on organizational and administrative theories adopted in public administration and educational management reveals that the most influential perspectives were developed in industrialized countries based on their cultural traditions, their economic and social needs, and their political interests. As presented in Chapter I, often these theoretical perspectives had immediate repercussions in Latin America and in other developing countries, which tried to adopt them to solve their own problems, sometimes without considering how different their problems were from those for which the theories were originally conceived.

The awareness of the consequences of the international circulation of knowledge in the field of educational management helps to explain the stakes in the epistemological debate in Latin American education. The purpose of this epistemological debate is to clarify the conceptual foundation of organizational and administrative theories adopted in Latin American education. The debate also reveals that traditional theories of educational organization and management have left many unanswered questions when those theories were applied in historical circumstances and geographic domains different from those in which and for which they were originally conceived. The fact is that the interpreters of organizational and administrative theories live in societies with specific philosophical and ideological orientations and that act under the influence of powerful economic and political forces. This fact implies a re-examination of the causes and effects of the cross-national transfer of knowledge in the field of educational management and a re-evaluation of what role international technical cooperation has played in the past and what role it should play in the future.

The construction and reconstruction of organizational and administrative theories in public administration and educational management are closely linked to the economic, political, and cultural conditions which characterize human organizations in modern society. This phenomenon is especially evident in developing countries. In spite of the increasing awareness that the construction and reconstruction of human organizations in developing countries should respond to their social needs and political aspirations in the context of their international interdependence, often organizational and administrative models are adopted or adapted without sufficient analysis of their economic, political, and cultural compatibility. Consequently, these models of organization and administration are frequently rejected in real life, even though they are formally accepted. One of the results of this situation is the emergence of formalism, inefficiency, ambiguity, and other functional characteristics which hinder the promotion of human development and the quality of education.3

In the field of education, the last decades have witnessed a great interest in the construction and reconstruction of analytical and praxeological perspectives of educational management in different cultures. A valuable literature covers the conceptual and analytical efforts carried out by vanguard thinkers in industrialized countries as well as in developing nations. As happened in sociological and organizational studies, these efforts reveal that the traditional theoretical developments have not been able to analyze correctly the specific dynamics of Latin American and Caribbean education due to their lack of economic, political, and cultural suitability. Because traditional educational theories proved unable to explain the peculiar historical conflicts and contradictions of education and society in Latin America, new conceptual perspectives on educational research and management were developed. In this sense, vanguard studies carried out in Latin America in the 1960’s and 1970’s try to overcome the limitations of the prevailing conceptions of traditional pedagogy. Likewise, important contributions in the 1980s also try to overcome the limitations of the institutional theories of social and cultural reproduction developed in recent decades.

Such efforts are reflected in the epistemological orientations adopted in important educational research and in specific studies about the educational situation at different school levels. Particularly eloquent are such efforts in the critiques of functionalist and reproductivist theories4 and in historical studies on the development of education and educational management in Latin America. For example, Braslavsky’s5 historical review shows how Latin American educational models were closely linked with the social priorities of each historical period, revolving around four axes: freedom, political consolidation of the State, national progress through education, and economic growth. In his logical analysis of the relationship between education and society, Rama6 identifies the prevailing educational styles adopted throughout Latin American history. Weinberg’s7 historical reconstruction of educational development in Latin America is based on a pendular movement between traditional and modern concepts. Based on his critical reading of Rama and Weinberg’s works and his own analytical induction of the Brazilian experience, Saviani8 concludes that the historical development of Latin American education and society is the result of a process of conservative modernization. Our historical reconstruction of administrative theories adopted in Latin American education, which leads to the multidimensional paradigm of educational administration presented in Chapter II, emphasizes the importance of political and cultural factors in education and educational management. The political strategy, suggested in these studies, for the reconstruction of relevant and effective educational systems in Latin America is citizen participation in the context of democracy as a form of government.

Recent Latin American educational history reveals the existence of a movement concerned with the conceptualization of educational theories and practices applicable to the concrete possibilities of Latin America and capable of meeting its real needs and demands in the context of the new international reality. This political-pedagogical movement adopts a critical position regarding traditional theories of education and educational management, rooted in positivism, functionalism, behaviorism, developmentalism, and reproductivism.9 As it was said before, the first result of this critical position is the increasing awareness regarding the lack of adequacy of traditional pedagogical theories to explain the relationship between education and society, and its peculiar contradictions in Latin America. The second result is the verification that Latin American education is the victim of a series of historical reductionisms. Specifically, positivism implies a quantitative and empirical reductionism. Sociological functionalism of behavioral theories implies a psychological reductionism. Technological functionalism of the developmental approach of the human capital theory involves an economic and cybernetic reductionism. Finally, theories of institutional hegemony and of social and cultural reproduction imply a deterministic reductionism.

To overcome these reductionisms and inadequacies in Latin American education it is necessary to construct comprehensive conceptual and analytical perspectives that are historically applicable to specific cultural situations in the international context. This overcoming strategy allows the recovery of universal values, which emphasize the generic dimension of individuals and nations, as well as the particular values which highlight community ethics and local culture. In this sense, the academic challenge to Latin American scholars is to conceive educational theories capable of meeting the needs and demands of Latin American countries in the context of current international interdependence. Following there are some of the specific concerns faced by Latin American professionals of public administration and educational management. These concerns underline both national efforts and international activities of technical cooperation.

Education, Administration and International Interdependence

The review of the positivistic models of Western development sociology and organizational and administrative theories, as well as the examination of the alternative approaches which inspired concrete socialism in Eastern Europe, reveal that both orientations analyzed development, organization and management paradigms based on the unidirectional perspective of economically-advanced societies. Consequently, both perspectives were too limited to comprehensively examine organizational and administrative models and the development peculiar to poor nations. Those theories also failed to propose feasible solutions to the problem of economic and cultural dependence which characterizes developing countries.

Latin American reaction to the dominant theories of development and organizational sociology came in the 1950’s and 1960’s when scholars started a creative intellectual effort to explain the development process of their countries and the evolution of their social institutions in the perspective of Latin American society.10 This intellectual effort consolidated Latin American critical thinking of the current century, which had its most influential development in the theory of dependence, rooted in ECLAC’s structuralism, represented by Presbich11 in economics and by Cardoso12 in sociology. The interpreters of ECLAC’s structuralism proclaimed that, to achieve economic liberation and social transformation in Latin American countries, their organizations cannot be conceived simply like those of industrialized countries. Determined to affirm the politics and culture of Latin America, they insisted that their organizations be conceived in light of the demands and needs of Latin American society. Among the interpreters of the theory of dependence, there were thinkers who adopted a relatively static and closed conceptual and analytical model to explain the relations of domination and dependence between central and peripheral countries; however, the most solid and constructive movement condemns dependent isolationism, urging its overthrow through a strategy of association and negotiation with the international centers of power. Along this line, Cardoso’s political importance is highlighted by his well-known concept of associated dependent development,13 which helps to coherently reconcile the theory of dependence with democratic theory at a specific national level as well as in the context of international relations. The intellectual rationality and political strategy of his historical-structural perspective have decisively influenced Latin American thinking in recent decades.

During the prevailing decades of the theory of dependence in Latin America, a liberating approach14 to development sociology and organizational and administrative theory was also practiced in some vanguard intellectual circles of industrialized countries. The liberating approach, like the theory of dependence, also rejects the dominant positivistic theory of development sociology and claims that “the dependent role of developing nations regarding the developed world is the main source of underdevelopment.”15 North American authors of the liberating approach joined Latin American critical thinkers to affirm that organizational paradigms conceived in the context of the prevailing unidirectional perspectives of Eastern and Western economically-advanced countries are not automatically transferable to developing nations.

In sum, the conceptualization of the international situation revealed two opposing orientations, both unidirectional: one oriented toward the interests of rich countries, the other toward the interests of the poor nations. Overcoming the intellectual confrontation of the two opposing positions was the great challenge of the moment. A new orientation finally imposed itself in order to pragmatically meet the need of collective survival and global security. The economic crisis of the 1980’s —associated with commercial protectionism, growing internal poverty and inflation, and the external debt— reveals that today there is no space for unidirectional positions leading to unfruitful confrontations unable to produce superseding alternatives. Shared values and interests in present conditions of human life and collective security create a new need for association and cooperative action in a broad multicultural and multinational perspective. This orientation is based on the assumption that all countries of the world are mutually interdependent.

Based on this assumption it is possible to conceive new paradigms for the study and practice of collective human life in modern society, and in its organizations. The constructionof new paradigms for the study of human organizations requires from Latin American social scientists an intellectual commitment to the establishment of an equitable international system. This intellectual orientation is based on the belief that Latin American scholars and practitioners can actively participate in the construction of a world committed to promoting the collective quality of human life.

Historically, Latin American critical theory has been preeminent in the field of education and in school management. Since the 1960’s, the most influential political-pedagogical movement was led by Freire,16 with his concepts of conscientiousness and liberating education, and his dialectic methodology. His associates, followers, and interpreters are countless and, all over the world, testimony to the penetrating influence of his pedagogical thought.17 In the 1970’s, the critical thinkers of institutional hegemony and of social and cultural reproduction had a pervasive influence. In the 1980s, Latin American scholars undertook a critical assessment of functionalist and developmental theories, as well as the institutional approaches to social and cultural reproductivism, in efforts to address more relevant and pragmatic conceptual and analytical concerns based on the particularities of Latin America within the new international context.

With the unparalleled international transformations of the 1980’s, culminating in the end of the cold war, these critical achievements and limitations call for new interpretations and constructions in development sociology, organizational theory, and educational management. Surpassed by the recent economic and political transformations, ECLAC’s postwar structuralism has given way to new intellectual proposals,18 which have become important sources of the current political-pedagogical debate in the Hemisphere.19 Out of this ferment has grown a new interest in organizations and management systems of different cultures, with emphasis on the international circulation of knowledge and the cross-national transfer of organizational models and educational management paradigms. Within this context, it is imperative to redefine the role of international technical cooperation, so that it can be an effective tool for constructing and distributing knowledge, and for promoing human development and the quality of life everywhere.

Human Development and Social Management

Key to current Latin American concerns is the need to overcome poverty. Poverty is, in fact, the most urgent problem of our time and affects approximately half of Latin American population. According to ECLAC’s statistics, in 1990, 46% of the Latin American population lived below the poverty line, and 22% were indigent. According to more recent estimates, the situation has become worse.

The fight against the most extreme poverty has become a top priority of international organizations involved with technical and financial cooperation. In 1992, the Organization of American States (OAS), in its Washington Protocol of Modifications to its Charter, incorporated into the essential purposes of the OAS that of “eradicating critical poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the countries of the Hemisphere.” This commitment was reaffirmed in 1993, when the Managua Protocol of Modifications to the OAS Charter established the Inter-American Council for Integral Development. The objective of the new Council is to promote “cooperation among the American States with the purpose of achieving their integral development and, especially, of contributing to the elimination of critical poverty." These commitments were supported by the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and of Government, held in 1993 in Brazil and in 1994 in Colombia, where overcoming poverty was cited as one of the major challenges faced today. Likewise, erradicating poverty and discrimination, together with consolidating democracy and promoting free commerce in America, were the prioritary commitments assumed by the 34 Heads of State and of Government gathered at the Summit of the Americas in Miami from December 9 to 11, 1994. The United Nations Organization, on its part, included the eradication of poverty in its priority agenda, as revealed in the studies on sustained human development20 carried out under the initiative of UNDP, and in numerous programs and projects implemented by the specialized agencies of the UN, especially by UNICEF and UNESCO. Finally, it is in this same context that the member States of the United Nations participated in the 1995 World Summit on Social Development, held in Copenhagen.

The aim of these international efforts to eradicate poverty is to achieve decent living conditions and sustained human development. The concept of sustained human development —measured in terms of decent levels of health, education, nutrition, accommodation, employment, and economic and political security— implies professional and institutional transformations at both local and national levels, as well as the level of international relations. In international terms, multilateral technical cooperation and international commerce, promoted over equitable bases and shared interests, can play an important role in developing the collective quality of human life. Nevertheless, the fundamental responsibility for development remains with the countries themselves, their institutions, and their people. In this context, the State plays a major role. It almost goes without saying that public administration plays an equally urgent and important role to achieve high levels of human development and social progress. On this subject, Kliksberg21 makes a suggestive and relevant contribution in his approach to social management as an institutional instrument of a social policy committed to non-dominant groups of society, with the objective of promoting sustained human development based on social equity and solidarity. His model of social management tries to articulate economic and social policies; to foster decentralization with a simultaneous search for autonomous and self-sustained communities; and to adopt a democratic administrative approach, encouraging citizen participation.

Kliksberg defends a specific paradigm of social management based on the specificity of the economic, political, and cultural conditions which determine particular social problems. In Latin America, social management faces the challenge of avoiding the mechanical and critical-free transfer of organizational models coming from the private sector. The social management paradigm does not deny the importance of economic efficiency and rationality, which characterize modern business management. Nevertheless, in order to develop creative and pertinent solutions to social demands, Kliksberg claims that it is necessary to “grasp the specificity of the social” when applying scientific and technological advances of modern administration.

In sum, the first challenge confronting administrators of social programs is to define a “specific management identity,” capable of achieving a sustained strategy of integral development. In practical terms, it is a challenge of great proportions, since it implies a reinstatement of basic institutional strategies and an intensive training program of those people involved in social management. At the institutional level, it is necessary to eliminate the “manipulating technocracy” of current bureaucratic, centralized and paternalistically-oriented management models, in order to construct a decentralized, participative, horizontal, and self-sustained paradigm. At the personal level, citizen participation is especially important to create adequate conditions of solidarity and self-sustained development. In this sense, social management implies a new kind of professional, with an adhocratic and adaptative profile, committed to the pursuit of equity and social justice. Based on the new professional profile, it is possible to establish the objectives and methodologies of the training programs of personnel for the negotiation and management of national and international social development projects. The conceptualization and implementation of training programs represent a new academic challenge for national institutions of higher education as well as for international organizations of technical cooperation. The decision to face this challenge is based on the conviction that any investment in the preparation of human resources for social management will pay high dividends for sustained development.

Critical Theory and  Participative Management in Education

Based on the critical evaluation of organizational and administrative theories and practices adopted in Latin American education in the twentieth century, scholars from different epistemological orientations have been committed to the construction of new conceptual and analytical perspectives of educational management. An intense epistemological debate in the field of educational administration starts in the 1970s and goes on throughout the 1980s with the purpose of providing elements for the conceptualization of a critical theory of education and educational management.22 This epistemological debate examines the economic and social factors which determine school administration, discusses the conservative character of traditional models, and studies the possibilities of democratic administrative practices committed to social change and to the improvement of quality education.

One recurring issue in the Latin American debates of the 1980’s is bureaucracy as a dominant administrative strategy of industrial society and as a system of domination at the service of the organization itself.23 To overcome the traditional limitations of techno-bureaucratic administration, new self-management models and paticipative modes of administration have been conceived. Nevertheless, proposals for self-management still have a long way to go in terms of educational practice.

Based on the critique of scientific neutrality and the bureaucratic character of traditional administration, the 1970’s and 1980’s witnessed a growing acceptance that educational management is a political practice. Thus arose an increasing effort to define the political role of the educational administrator in the struggle for power, in the school and in the management process itself.24 To this political dimension thinkers added the pedagogical dimension, assuming that the reason for being of educational management is education itself as a political-pedagogical practice.25 From this context arises the phenomenological approach to educational management, which conceives school administration as a pedagogical act or an academic act, instead of the traditional conception of administration as a business act or a commercial practice.26

All cases reveal a clear denunciation of the assimilation of educational management to business administration and a defense of educational administration as a specific professional field of study.27 In the political and cultural context, school administration is defined as a particular social practice which emphasizes the political over the technical, and the educational over the organizational.

Finally, the movement toward democratization of educational management emerges in the larger context of the general movement toward representative democracy as a form of government in Latin America. The concepts of collegiate action, collective human action, self- management, and the adoption of decentralizing practices, such as the constitution of municipal and school councils, the participation of the community, and the election of school and university administrators, have been developed as participatory instruments and democratic forms of educational organization and management.28

These observations about the critical practice of educational administration reflect the academic ferment of the 1980’s in academic circles of Latin America. Common to all these intellectual efforts is the explicitness of epistemological orientation. In general, vanguard Latin American authors join the critics of the positivistic and functionalist tradition, which has dominated the study of administration in Western education in the twentieth century. Nevertheless, beyond acknowledging the limits of the dominant administrative theories of the past, the most creative aspect of recent studies lies in the search for more pertinent conceptual and analytical perspectives to guide educational research and practice. One of the concerns of vanguard Latin American studies is to construct educational administrative paradigms that are significant to citizens and effective to Latin American educational institutions. Along with this preoccupation is the need to pass beyond the phase of denunciation of the serious limitations that have characterized educational management for so long. This effort implies an actional approach capable of conceiving and implementing concrete solutions to those educational problems identified by critique. This orientation is based on a creative cross-fertilization of conceptual and analytical developments of critical inquiry and the collective human action approach.

In sum, the conceptualization of new theories of educational administration constitutes a fundamental challenge faced by scholars in developing countries and in industrialized societies. This intellectual challenge makes room for national as well as international cooperation. In both cases, cultural relevance and political responsiveness are basic criteria to guide the efforts of scientific and technological construction and reconstruction in the field of educational management. The central premise of this orientation is that it can provide a constructive framework to formulate and adopt collective action strategies to improve the quality of life and education for all citizens. These observations are particularly relevant for the preservation of cultural identity and the promotion of international integration in the field of education and the social sciences.

Administrative Decentralization: Toward School
Relevance and Community Responsiveness

The political history of Latin America shows a constant tension between centralization and decentralization in the management of education and in society in general. There have been a number of forms of administrative decentralization (deconcentration, regionalization, municipalization, delegation, nuclearization) implemented as alternatives to the political and administrative centralization that characterized society and education in Latin America during the last five hundred years. Dating back to the establishment of independent states in Latin America and to the construction of their national identities, centralization remains a common political feature in the whole Hemisphere. Education —which was used by the State as a powerful instrument to achieve independence and to promote national development, as well as to deprive the Church of its historical influence in public affairs— followed the same centralizing model.29

Studies carried out by universities and intergovernmental agencies reveal that most Latin American governments have adopted some kind of decentralization in education.30 In operational terms, decentralization usually means the transfer of school systems from a higher government jurisdiction to another jurisdiction, for example, from the federal government to the provinces, from the provinces to the municipalities, and from these to the districts. This decentralizing practice is based on a variety of rationales and goals. Those who favor decentralization argue that it facilitates interaction between education and society, significantly upgrading the degree of pertinence and responsiveness of the educational system to its participants and the community at large. Decentralization would also move local communities to search for educational solutions within their limits, instead of adopting universal solutions that may not be appropriate to them. The defenders of decentralization also argue that a decentralized educational system would be economically more efficient and pedagogically more effective than a centralized system.

These arguments, however, come under close scrutiny in view of the critical assessment of Latin America’s reality and its historical, conditioning forces. There is little evidence that government policies on traditional forms of educational decentralization are effective. Some critics argue that, in many cases, there is evidence to the contrary.

In economic terms, systematic studies are still needed to establish whether or not an empirical correlation exists between efficiency and administrative decentralization. In pedagogical terms, there is a need to show how a decentralized educational system is more effective in countries which favor administrative centralism. Given that the concept of effectiveness is rooted in neoclassical economic thought, a decentralized educational system could tend to favor private education. Critical analysts argue that this orientation conflicts with the imperative to provide access to free quality education for all. In political terms, it is necessary to show how educational decentralization can be more responsive to social demands and political aspirations in countries with an economic structure and a political organization that do not give adequate fiscal autonomy to provinces and municipalities. The adoption of a decentralized educational system in countries marked by a centralized economic structure and political organization could run the risk of creating abandoned school systems in marginal urban municipalities and poor rural communities. In cultural terms, there are doubts whether a decentralized educational system can be more relevant to its participants and the community at large than a centralized system, if adequate economic and political conditions do not exist.

In reality, Latin American educational systems exist in the context of the overall economic situation of the Hemisphere. External economic pressures, together with internal economic difficulties generate internal conflicts which are mediated by central governments. Thus internal centralization is reinforced by powerful external forces. This centralizing trend has obvious implications for educational policy-making and planning. In addition, educational policies and plans are often prepared by professionals linked to the central government structure and usually committed to urban values. On the other hand, in light of the troubled economic situation throughout Latin America, decentralization can seriously jeopardize equity and increase regional inequalities because of unequal access to financial resources and educational services. The debate over centralization versus decentralization in educational organization and administration reveals no pat formulas or easy solutions.31 Nevertheless, in terms of implications for educational policy and practice, two suggestions are set forth.

First, it is necessary to analyze administrative practice within the context of national educational policy. Defending national identity would seem to call for an educational policy national in character. Consequently, a national core curriculum should be designed in order to promote the cultural identity of the nation, to strengthen its capacity to pursue scientific advancement, and to provide equal access to scientific and technological development. To such a national curriculum design, local contents should be added to foster cultural heterogeneity, to attain concrete social needs, and to meet the political demands of local communities. Such an orientation lays the groundwork for the development of micro-planning within the context of national educational development planning. Again, it is suggested that general national policy guidelines should not be decentralized, in order to avoid the risk of weakening the sense of national destiny and the presence of modern science in all parts of the country. To implement national educational policies, administrative practice should be increasingly flexible and decentralized. In each case, one should adopt the most efficient, effective, responsive, and relevant administrative strategy to attain national educational goals, to promote the cultural heterogeneity of the country, to fulfill local needs, and to provide favorable conditions for the development of the educational process itself.

Second, it is necessary to restore the centrality of the school as the major locus of the educational process. The recovery of the central role of the school implies a radical departure from traditional decentralization policies and practices which are generally limited to the transfer of the formal responsibility for education from the central government level to state and/or municipal levels. Such a tradition features a kind of delegated decentralization; it examplifies “governed democracy,” under which the schools have reduced participation, instead of “governing democracy,” based on effective citizen participation.32 Changing the jurisdiction of schools, in fact, does not necessarily change the administrative orientation: instead of a centralized system in the federal government, there would exist centralized systems in state and/or municipal governments, with reduced school autonomy and little significance for the local community. It seems that the countless proposals for educational decentralization in Latin America failed mainly because they were proposals for pseudo-decentralization, involving no more than the transfer of schools from one highly centralized jurisdiction to another.

Real decentralization will occur only when significant decision-making takes place in the school. Only then will a “governing democracy” exist, that is to say, an educational management where the school is the central agent of the educational process. It is precisely in the school that education takes place. It is in the school that students and faculty construct and distribute knowledge. It is school performance that defines quality education and enhances human development and the quality of life.33

This genuine decentralization strategy implies profound changes in school management, in the professional profile of school administrators, and in the training programs for educational managers. Promising developments in this line heve emerged throughout the Hemisphere, demonstrating that it is possible to redeem the central role of the school as main locus of the educational process. Such a redemption presents one of the greatest challenges in education. Our capacity to face it wil significantly determine the orientation and results of Latin American education in the context of the new international reality.

Democratic Management and Quality Education for All

Postwar economic reconstruction ended in the 1970’s. Since then the rhythm of economic growth has declined all over the world and, consequently, public social expenditures have fallen. This situation is especially pressing in the poor countries which, at the end of the so-called “lost decade” of the 1980s, undertook economic adjustment plans in order to face the foreign debt crisis and internal inflation. The increasing limitations imposed on public expenditure reduces the frontiers of the State, accompanied by a simultaneous movement toward privatization. The crisis gets worse when cuts are made in public services of education, health, and social security for a population already oppressed by economic adjustments and unfavorable demographics. In order to administer this structural crisis, many leaders, based on the dominant neo-liberal philosophy, looked for solutions in Taylor and Emerson, fathers of economic efficiency in administrative theory. As a result, the decade of the 1980s was marked by an increasing use of neo-Taylorist practices in public administration and social management. Nevertheless, in his studies about the management of public services in Great Britain, Pollit34 proves that the neo-Taylorist movement did not achieve the expected results, due to increasing restrictions of public expenditure in the social sector. Pollit concludes that part of the bill had to be paid by civil servants, through decreases in their real salaries, reduction of working hours and/or loss of employment.

In efforts to overcome the difficulties associated with the neo-Taylorist practices, the 1990’s open onto management with human face in public administration. The tendency is to adopt in the public sector those concepts and practices that were used successfully in the private sector, especially its model of total quality management.35 Since then there has been an extensive academic attempt to define the nature of quality in the fields of public administration and educational management. Despite the attraction of the concept of total quality, indefinition surrounds its use, given the variety of goals, interests, and services of different organizations which adopt the concept. For example, the goals of commercial companies, hospitals, and schools are different. The nature of private industry and the public university is different. Within the university, the nature of academic administration is different from the management of financial and material services. The interests of managers, employees, and customers are all different. Despite the human face that some researchers attribute to the model of total quality management, its practical application reveals the central power of the manager to inspect and control the behavior of workers by means of econocratic standards and uniform parameters for measuring the quality of different products and services. Nevertheless, facts show that in the administration of public services, citizen participation remains essential to achieving high levels of quality with equity.

These observations do not disregard efficiency and rationality as important indicators of quality in the administration of educational services. On the contrary, due to the fundamental importance of educational management, the first concern is to define correctly the nature of quality in education and in school administration. Of course, the concept of total quality adopted by the managers of modern industrial organizations is not automatically transferable nor operationable in sociology and educational policy. Nor is the evaluation of the academic quality of educators and anthropologists extrapolable to the evaluation of the quality of experiments carried out by chemists and biologists. This means that uniform management and evaluation concepts will not apply to institutions and activities that are highly heterogeneous from ideological and organizational standpoints. These observations, apart from the specific Latin American cultural experience, suggest a need for new intellectual and praxeological efforts to match scientific and technological advances of modern administration with the specific requirements of public administration and educational management. In reality, it is impossible to evaluate professional quality, in terms of political awareness and social responsibility of educators and civil servants by measuring the ability to compete in quantitative and material terms. In the world of business the client or consumer plays a major role, considering that he may choose among different services or products. In the public sector, there are no clients or consumers; there are citizens with duties and rights. Besides, often the choice of services or products in the public sector is limited or non-existent, due to the lack of alternatives, especially in rural areas or in the most needy urban communities. For example, it is impossible to choose among different health services if the community has only one clinic or public hospital. The same holds true for the choice of educational services if the municipality or district has but one public school. Thus developing alternatives for citizen participation in management to improve educational quality implies issues related to specific institutional strategies and the educational rights and duties of the citizens.

The first step toward educational quality management is to recover the specificity of education and the peculiar nature of quality education. Although schools and universities perform many different functions, their focal point is education, defined as a means for constructing and distributing socially valid knowledge. As developed in Chapter III, quality education can be defined differently. It is possible to appraise education in substantive or political terms, and in instrumental or academic terms. Substantive quality of education reflects the level of achievement of society’s political and cultural objectives. Instrumental quality defines the level of efficiency and effectiveness of methods and technologies used in the educational process. It is also possible to appraise education in both individual and collective terms. Individual quality refers to the contribution of education to the development of subjective freedom and personal interest. Collective quality measures the degree to which education promotes social equity and public welfare. These perspectives reflect analytically distinguishable aspects of a more comprehensive concept of educational quality. In fact, it is precisely the dialectical articulation of these dimensions that allows for a comprehensive concept of educational quality, according to which the instrumental dimension is subsumed by the substantive dimension, and the individual dimension is closely interrelated with the collective dimension. It is this global and multicentric concept that inspired the multidimensional paradigm of educational administration, presented in Chapter II.

Current Latin American educational bibliography highlights the centrality of the concern over the quality of education. The issue is evident in specialized reviews carried out by Schiefelbein36 and in efforts toward institutional evaluation in Latin American universities.37 Some recent studies are concerned with strategies that combine political quality, academic excellence, organizational efficiency, and educational democratization. Tedesco’s contribution38 focuses on educational options with high levels of quality for all, trying to combine academic excellence with democratization of access to socially meaningful knowledge. Aguerrondo39 centers her argument on the intersection of politico-ideological aspects and technical-pedagogical options in the evaluation of the quality of educational services and the assessment of quality management. In their study about the structure of public management of Argentine secondary education, Braslavsky and Tiramonti40 analyze the relationship between management and the quality of education, and the results of innovating proposals related to administrative decentralization and democratic participation. In their analysis of the role of administration, Frigerio and Poggi41 adopt a comprehensive concept of quality of education, defining it as the integration of the quality of institutional organization, of human and financial resources, of curricular and didactic proposals, of the educational process and its learning outputs. Schmelkes42 makes a provocative contribution on the quality of education in elementary schooling which prompts reflection about the implications of the new approaches of total quality management in education.

Many Latin American studies about educational quality and its relationship to educational quality management show a concern for equity and the social relevance of education. Braslavsky and Tiramonti distill this concern by stating that “the pursuit of quality should not be carried out at the expense of equity.”43 Hallack presents a proposal for school management capable of articulating creatively the values quality and equity in the effective supply of educational services.44 Namo de Mello reveals the same concern with quality and equity when she calls for a local management system “which allows the incorporation of unequal necessities and their treatment throughout the schooling process, in a way to ensure access to knowledge and satisfaction of basic learning needs for all.”45

Quality of education for all is, in fact, the most important international political-pedagogical consensus adopted by governments at the outset of the new millennium. The commitment to the universalization of a basic education of high quality was assumed at the 1990 World Conference on Education for All, which took place in Jomtien, under the auspices of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank. Since then, new national efforts have developed in Latin American education, especially in countries of greater populations, such as Brazil and Mexico, which committed themselves to developing a ten-year plan for the universalization of high quality basic education. This is the central theme of a number of programs all around the Hemisphere, as, for example, the National Conference on Education for All which took place in Brasilia in October 1994, with extensive national and international participation. In the Brazilian case, a new national mobilization to improve basic education for all was innaugurated in Brasilia on February 5, 1995. Under the name of Wake up, Brazil, it’s time for school, the Federal Government calls for the participation of the whole community, especially educational agents at the school level. Quality of education at all school levels, especially in the elementary school, and democratization of educational management, are also part of the plan of action adopted by the Heads of State and Government who participated at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami.

In light of the international transformations affecting collective quality of life, it is important to examine the hypothesis that quality management is one of the explanatory variables of quality education. The unparalleled transformations in economics and society in the transition into the twenty-first century have had an immediate impact on public administration and education and management practices in all countries of the international community. In this context, traditional hierarchical administrative practices give way to systems of horizontal management, with interactive organizational networks to ease communication and cooperative action. Individual action moves toward collective action through a new management ethic based on cooperation and participation. Administrative centralism in the higher levels of government gives yelds to a process of decentralization in management at the school and university level, with increasing technical and financial autonomy. The normative and universal principles of traditional management paradigms make room for adaptability and flexibility based on concrete needs and characteristics. Likewise, while traditional paradigms of administration emphasize the production and quantity of results based on an ex-post evaluation system, new administrative theories value the quality of inputs, processes, and results based on a permanent system of quality evaluation, which involves all participants and beneficiaries of the management process. In other words, quality takes precedence over and meaning to quantity. Likewise, collective participation and common well-being guide individual action and interest. In sum, the key concept of a meaningful and relevant theory of educational management is that of quality of education for all, defined in political and pedagogical terms, and committed to attaining high levels of collective quality of human life.

The concept of quality education for all implies developing a qualitative working environment in educational institutions. In operational terms, educational institutions and their administrative and pedagogical processes should reflect rationality and relevance, so that they can contribute effectively to the construction and distribution of knowledge and can supply relevant services to the community and society as a whole. Given that the quality of educational work is undoubtedly related to the quality of educational workers, the quality of the personnel of schools and universities becomes a central factor. The correlation between quality of education and quality of staffing implies the fundamental importance of a permanent investment in the professionalization of educators. Nevertheless, the correlation between the quality of educators and the quality of their work is closely linked to the quality of structural elements and technical and administrative processes in the classroom, the school, the university, and the ministries of education.

The quality of the technical processes and administrative procedures of schools and universities are especially important. More important than establishing the formal structure of educational systems and institutions is deciding how to coordinate the educational process, how to design the curriculum and give it a relevant substantive content, and how to put technical and pedagogical instruments to good use. But beyond the organizational structure and the administrative process it is necessary to bear in mind that the rationale for both is the political and cultural mission and the pedagogical objective of the school and the university. Nevertheless, even though the mission and the objective are undoubtedly the essential elements of schools and educational systems, the process of achieving them often becomes critical. If the process fails in terms of rationality, efficiency, transparency and responsiveness, the mission and the objective, the services and the results, all fail as well. Thus, technical and administrative processes and the mission and goals of educational institutions should be conceived as closely articulated components of a comprehensive management paradigm for the improvement of quality education for all and the effective construction and distribution of knowledge.46

The construction and reconstruction of knowledge in the field of education and educational management committed to quality and equity requires a great effort. This effort assumes enormous proportions in Latin America and the Caribbean, since its nations face an urgent need to multiply their scientific and technological knowledge, in order to be able to participate actively in and benefit equitably from current unparalleled economic and political transformations.



1. This initial section incorporates revisions of concepts published earlier in Benno Sander, Educación, Administración y Calidad de Vida, Buenos Aires, Ediciones Santillana, 1990.

2. Simon Schwartzman, Ciência, Universidade e Ideologia, Rio de Janeiro, Zahar Editores, 1980, p. 147.

3. See Benno Sander, David Kine and Russel G. Davis, Formalismo Educacional en los Países en Desarrollo, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, Regional Program for Educational Development, 1974; Benno Sander, Educação Brasileira: Valores Formais e Valores Reais, São Paulo, Pioneira/MEC, 1977; Anisio S. Teixeira, “Valores Proclamados e Valores Reais nas Instituições Escolares Brasileiras,” Revista Brasileira de Estudos Pedagógicos, year 36, no. 84, 1961.

4. There is a vast bibliography on the epistemological efforts to define the nature of the traditional conceptual and analytical developments in education and educational management and on the need to overcome the limitations identified in the functionalist and reproductivist traditions. See, for example, Carlos Alberto Torres, Sociologia Política da Educação, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1992; Juan Carlos Tedesco, “Reproductivismo Educativo y Sectores Populares en América Latina,” in Felicia Reicher Modeira and Guiomar Namo de Mello, eds., Educação na América Latina: Os Modelos Teóricos y a Realidade Social, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1985, pp. 33-60; Guiomar Namo de Mello, Magistério de 1º Grau: Da Competência Técnica ao Compromisso Político, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1982, chapter I. See also Henry A. Giroux, “Theries of Reproduction and Resistence in the New Sociology of Education: A Critical Analysis,” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 53, no. 3, August 1983, pp. 257-293; Stanley Aronowitz and Henry A. Giroux, Education under Siege: The Conservative, Liberal and Radical Debate over Schooling, South Hadley, Mass., Bergin and Garvey Publishers, 1985; Martin Carnoy and Henry M. Levin, Schooling and Work in a Democratic State, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 1985.

5. Cecilia Braslavsky, “Un Desafío Fundamental de la Educación Durante los Próximos 25 Años: Construir su Sentido,” La Educación, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, year 31, no. 101, 1987, pp. 67-82.

6. German W. Rama, “Estilos educacionais,” in Dermeval Saviani et al., Desenvolvimento e educação na América Latina, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1983, pp. 46-83.

7. Gregorio Weinberg, “Modelos Educacionais no Desenvolvimento Histórico da América Latina,” in Dermeval Saviani et al., Desenvolvimento e Educação na América Latina, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1983, pp. 17-45.

8. Dermeval Saviani, “O Lógico e o Histórico nas Análises de Educação e Desenvolvimento na América Latina,” in Dermeval Saviani et al., Desenvolvimento e Educação na América Latina, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1983, pp. 5-16.

9. See the papers published in Felicia Reicher Madeira e Guiomar Namo de Mello, eds., Educação na América Latina: Os Modelos Teóricos e a Realidade Social, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1985, pp. 33-60. See also Juan Carlos Tedesco, El Desafío Educativo: Calidad y Democracia, Buenos Aires, Grupo Editor Latinoamericano, 1987; Moacir Gadotti, Educação e Poder: Introdução à Pedagogia do Conflito, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1981; Moacir Gadotti, Concepção Dialética da Educação, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1984.

10. See Benno Sander, “Education and Dependence: The Role of Comparative Education,” Perspectives, Paris, UNESCO, vol. 15, nº 3, 1985, pp. 195-203.

11. Raúl Prebish, Transformação e Desenvolvimento: A Grande Tarefa da América Latina, 2 volumes, Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1973.

12. Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Faletto, Dependência e Desenvolvimento na América Latina: Ensaio de Interpretação Sociológica, Rio de Janeiro, Editora Zahar, 1970.

13. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “Desenvolvimento Associado-Dependente e Teoria Democrática,” in Alfred Stepan, ed., Democratizando o Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1988, pp. 443-482.

14. Claude Deblois, “An Emerging Model of Organization,” Ph. D. Dissertation for the University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1976.

15. Claude Deblois, “An Emerging Model of Organization,” Ph. D. Dissertation for the University of Albert, Edmonton, 1976.

16. Paulo Freire, Pedagogia do Oprimido, Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 4th edition, 1977; Paulo Freire, Educação como Prática da Liberdade, Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1981.

17. Today many of his associates and followers are afiliated to the Instituto Paulo Freire with headquarters in São Paulo, created under the leadership of Moacir Gadotti, José Eustáquio Romão, Carlos Alberto Torres, and Francisco Gutiérrez.

18. ECLAC, Transformación Productiva con Equidad, Santiago, 1990; ECLAC and UNESCO, Educacion y Conocimiento: Eje de la Transformación Educativa con Equidad, Santiago, OREALC, 1992.

19. Vanilda Paiva and Mirian Jorge Warde, “Novo Paradigma de Desenvolvimento e Centralidade do Ensino Básico,” Educação e Sociedade, year 14, no. 44, april 1993, pp. 11-32.

20. United Nations Development Program, Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano, 1994, México, DF, Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1994.

21. Bernardo Kliksberg, ed., Pobreza: Un Tema Impostergable, México, DF, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993, pp. 91-108 and 353-368.

22. See the academic contribution of Carlos Roberto Jamil Cury, Educação e Contradição: Elementos Metodológicos para uma Teoria Crítica do Fenômeno Educativo, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1985; Vitor Henrique Paro, Administração Escolar: Introdução Crítica, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1986; Benno Sander, Consenso e Conflito: Perspectivas Analíticas na Pedagogia e na Administração da Educação, São Paulo and Niterói, Pioneira/Univesidade Federal Fluminense, 1984; B. Sander, Educación, Administración y Calidad de Vida, Buenos Aires, Santillana, 1990.

23. Fernando C. Prestes Motta and Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira, Introdução à Organização Burocrática, São Paulo, Editora Brasiliense, 1983; Fernando C. Prestes Motta, Burocracia e Autogestão, São Paulo, Editora Brasiliense, 1981; Maurício Tragtenberg, Burocracia e Ideologia, São Paulo, Ática, 1974; Maurício Tragtenberg, Administração, Poder e Ideologia, São Paulo, Editora Moraes, 1980.

24. Miguel González Arroyo, “A administração da Educação é um Problema Político,” Revista Brasileira de Administração da Educação, Porto Alegre, vol. I, nº 1, 1983, pp. 122-29; Miguel González Arroyo, “Administração da Educação: Poder e Participação,” Educação e Sociedade, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, nº 2, 1979, pp. 16-46.

25. Lauro Carlos Wittmann, “Administração e Planejamento da Educação: Ato Político-Pedagógico,” Revista Brasileira de Administração da Educação, Porto Alegre, vol. 1, nº 2, 1983, pp. 10-22; L. C. Wittmann, “Administração da Educação Hoje: Ambigüidades de sua Produção Histórica,” Em Aberto, Brasília, year 6, no. 36, october/december, 1987.

26. Antonio Muniz de Rezende, “Administração Universitária: Alternativa Empresarial ou Acadêmica,” Informativo ANPAE, nº 1, 1980, pp. 6-8.

27. Maria de Fátima Costa Félix, Administração Escolar: Um Problema Educativo ou Empresarial, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1984; Acácia Zeneida Kuenzer, “A Teoria da Administração Educacional: Ciência e Ideologia,” Cadernos de Pesquisa, São Paulo, Fundação Carlos Chagas, nº 48, february, 1984, pp. 39-46.

28. An extensive specialized literature exists on the democratization of educational management in Latin America. In the case of Brazil, for example, see the publications of: Neidson Rodrigues, Por uma Nova Escola: O Transitório e o Permanente na Educação, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1985; Benno Sander, Educación, Administración y Calidad de Vida, Buenos Aires, Santillana, chapter 12, 1990; Maria Beatriz Moreira Luce, “Administração da Educação: Polêmicas e Ensaios de Democratização,” Em Aberto, Brasilia, year 6, no. 36, october/december, 1987; Maria Beatriz Moreira Luce and Marisa Timm Sari, “A administração para Todos Exige uma Nova Ética de Gestão: Participação e Corresponsabilidade,” Em Aberto, Brasilia, year 13, no. 59, july/september, l993; Márcia Ángela Aguiar, “Gestão Democrática da Educação: Alguns Desafios,” Em Aberto, Brasilia, year 6, no. 36, october/december, 1987; Vicente de Paula Carvalho Madeira, “Administração da Educação Hoje: O Desafio da Transição a Nivel de Educação Superior,” Em Aberto, Brasilia, year 6, no. 36, october/december, 1987; José Camilo dos Santos Filho, “O Recente Processo de Descentralização e de Gestão Democrática da Educação no Brasil,” Revista Brasileira de Estudos Pedagógicos, Brasilia, vol .I, no.1, july 1994, pp. 219-241; Vitor Henrique Paro, “Gestão da Escola Pública: A Participação da Comunidade,” Revista Brasileira de Estudos Pedagógicos, Brasilia, vol.I, no. 1, july 1994, pp. 255- 290; Moacir Gadotti, Escola Cidadã, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1992; M. L. M. Prais, Administração Colegiada na Escola Pública, Campinas, Papirus, 1990; R. N. Silva, Uma Proposta de Política Educacional Democrática e Participativa: Caminhos e Descaminhos, São Paulo, Papirus, 1991; Genuino Bordignon, “Gestão Democrática do Sistema Municipal de Educação,” in Moacir Gadotti e José Eustáquio Romão, org., Município e Educação, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1993.

29. Carlos E. Olivera, The Administration of Educational Development in Latin America, Paris, UNESCO/International Institute for Educational Planning, 1979, pp. 22-31.

30. For conceptual formulations and case-studies, see Carlos Malpica and Shapour Rassekh, eds., Educational Administration and Multilevel Plan Implementation: Experiences from Developing Countries, Paris, International Institute for Educational Planning, Selected IIEP Seminar Papers; Carlos E. Olivera, Op. Cit.; Octavio Arizmendi Posada, Francisco Céspedes and Vicente Umbelino de Souza, “La Administración de la Educación en América Latina: Estudio sobre Agilización y Descentralización Administrativa,” Seminario sobre Administración de la Educación en América Latina, Washington, D.C., Organization of American States, 1973, pp. 143-259; Organization of American States, Seminario-Taller Latinoamericano de Regionalización Educativa, Concepción, Chile, Universidad de Concepción, Centro de Administración Educacional, 1983; Norberto Fernández Lamarra, Regionalización, Descentralización y Nuclearización de la Educación, Buenos Aires, Consejo Federal de Inversiones, 1987; Noel McGinn, “Un Proyecto de Investigación y Acción para la Descentralización de Sistemas Educacionales,” La Educación, Washington, DC, vol. 30, nº 101, 1987, pp. 165-80; Silvia N. de Senén González, “Reflexiones sobre las Posibilidades y Perspectivas de la Regionalización Educativa”, La Educación, Washington, DC, vol. 31, nº 101, 1987, pp. 135-54; Luiz Antonio Cunha, “La Escuela Democrática: Lo Nacional, lo Regional y lo Unitario,” La Educación, Washington, DC, year 31, no. 101, 1987, pp. 107-122; Moacir Gadotti e José Eustáquio Romão, org., Município e Educação, São Pablo, Cortez Editora, 1993. See also the studies on education and (de)centralization published by the Harvard Institute for Educational Development in The Forum, vol. II, issue 3, 1993.

31. A recent interesting debate over centralization and decentralization in educational administration occured at a specialized meeting sponsored by the Organization of American States in Washington, DC, in 1987, coordinated by Luis O. Roggi, and published in La Educación, Washington, DC, vol. 31, nº 101, 1987.

32. Georges Burdeau, Traité des Sciences Politiques, Paris, 1957.

33. For a review of recent international literature on the role of the school and the classroom for effective educational change, see Rober E. Slavin, “Effective Classrooms, Effective Schools: A research Base for Reform in Latin America,” in Jeffrey M. Puryear and José Joaquín Brunner, eds., Education, Equity and Economic Competitiveness in the Americas, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, INTERAMER 37, Education Series, 1994, pp. 7-28; Guiomar Namo de Mello, Cidadania e Competitividade: Desafios Educacionais do Terceiro Milênio, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1993, part II.

34. Christopher Pollit, “¿Qué es Calidad de los Servicios Públicos?, in Bernardo Kliksberg, ed., Pobreza: Un Tema Impostergable, México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993, pp. 293-306.

35. For a critical assessment of the neoliberal concept of total quality in education, see Pablo A. A. Gentili and Tomás Tadeu da Silva, org., Neoliberalismo, Qualidade Total e Educação, Petrópolis, Vozes, 1994. This collection of readings, which includes essays by Tomás Tadeu da Silva, Gaudêncio Frigotto, Mariano Fernández Enguita, Pablo A. A. Gentili, and Michael W. Apple, represents a point of departure for the discussion of the applicability of neoliberal ideas and practices in education and the social sciences. For the study of the applicability of the concepts of total quality in the administration of social services, see Bernardo Kliksberg, ed, Pobreza: Un Tema Impostergable, México, DF, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993, pp. 91-108 and 353-368.

36. Ernesto Schiefelbein, “La Investigación sobre Calidad de la Enseñanza en América Latina,” La Educación, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, year 28, nº 96, 1984, pp. 88-116; E. Schiefelbein, “Estrategias para Elevar la Calidad de la Educación,” La Educación, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, year 38, vol. I, nº 117, 1994, pp. 1-18.

37. See, for example, José Dias Sobrinho, ed., Avaliação Institucional da UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Universidade de Campinas, 1994; Carlos Marquis, ed., Evaluación Universitaria en el Mercosur, Buenos Aires, Ministerio de Cultura y Educación, 1994; José Joaquín Bruner, Evaluación de la Calidad Académica en Perspectiva Internacional Comparada, Santiago, FLACSO, Serie Educación y Cultura, no. 23, 1992; Simon Schwartzman, La Calidad de la Educación Superior en América Latina,” in ICFES, Calidad, Eficiencia y Equidad en la Educación Superior Colombiana, Bogotá, 1990, vol. 1; Antonio Amorim, Avaliação Institucional da Universidade, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1992; Ana Maria Saul, “Avaliação da Universidade: Buscando uma Alternativa Democrática,” Dois Pontos, no.12, 1988.

38. Juan Carlos Tedesco, El Desafío Educativo: Calidad y Democracia, Buenos Aires, Grupo Editor Latinoamericano, 1987.

39. Inés Aguerrondo, “La Calidad de la Educación: Ejes para su Definición y Evaluación,” La Educación, Wasshington, DC, Organization of American States, year 37, Vol. III, nº 116, 1993, p. 563.

40. Cecilia Braslavsky and Guillermina Tiramonti, Conducción Educativa y Calidad de la Enseñanza Media, Buenos Aires, FLACSO/Miño y Dávila Editores, 1990.

41. Graciela Frigerio and Margarita Poggi, Las Instituciones Educativas Cara y Ceca: Elementos para su Gestión, Buenos Aires, Troquel, 1994, p. 91.

42. Sylvia Schmelkes, Hacia una Mejor Calidad de Nuestras Escuelas, Washington, DC, Organization of American States, Regional Program for Educational Development, 1994.

43. Cecilia Braslavsky and Guillermina Tiramonti, Op. Cit, p. 176.

44. Jacques Hallack, Managing Schools for Educational Quality and Equity: Finding the Proper Mix to Make it Work, Paris,UNESCO, IIPE, 1992.

45. Guiomar Namo de Mello, Cidadania e Competitividade: Desafios Educacionais do Terceiro Milênio, São Paulo, Cortez Editora, 1993, p. 39.

46. For a discussion of the role of education in the construction and distribution of knowledge, see ECLAC and UNESCO, Educación y Conocimiento: Eje de la Transformación Productiva con Equidad, Santiago, OREALC, 1992.