Education Reform in Mexico: Decentralization and the Civics Curriculum
This is a research study of Mexcio's education reform in one state, Jalisco. The reform is characterized by decentralization and the devolvement of governance and responsibility of compulsory basic education. Three objectives guiding the study were: (1) to conduct a document analysis of education reform plans and programs from 1989 to the present; (2) to describe the definition and scope of civcs education Jalisco by analyzing the six-grade sequence of pupils texbooks and teacher guides, and (3) to conduct classroom observations of teacher imlementing lessons from the newly developed curriculum in schools of different socioeconomic levels. Jalisco provides an example of how one state moved quickly to take up the challenge of initiating its own curriculum and textbooks for civics education. States' curriculum efforts, however, must remain with the national curriculum rules issued by the Ministry of Education.
Mexico's education reform policy stresses solidarity and targets the neediest and most marginzalized populations--the rural sector, the urban poor, and Indigenous populations. Unfortunately, the nation's offensive against drug trafficking and violence hinders education reform efforts, and most critics of education remain pessimistic about Mexico's ability to achieve eduction access and equality for marginalized populations living in extreme poverty. Still, innovations for improving the quality of educations continue to advance across all levels of education and need to be brought into the literature for analysis and discussion.
The civics curriculum presented in the proposed session stresses the acquistion of values and attitudes that facilitate a harmonious social life and congenial living in a democracy. This affective dimension is unlike any U.S. civics education curriculum that focuses on the structure and functions of government. Finally the presenter will discuss with participants the daunting task that education reform and decentralization poses to developing nations around the world. It also shows how current heads of state in developing countries now link education to economic stability. Decentralizing highly authoritarian national systems of education is at variance with decades of policy-making for a homogeneous operation.
Keywords: Education Reform, Decentralization, Mexico, Civics Education, Values-Based Civics
Prof. Gloria Contreras
Professor of Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction/College of Education, Department of Teacher Education and Administration, University of North Texas