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Educational policy analysis archives
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Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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University of South Florida.
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Education -- Research -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
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Educational policy analysis archives.
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Secondary education in Argentina during the 1990s : the limits of a comprehensive reform effort / Jorge M. Gorostiaga, Clementina Acedo [and] Susana E. Xifra.
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1 of 28 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 11 Number 17May 29, 2003ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass College of Education Arizona State University Copyright is retained by the first or sole author, who grants right of first publication to the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES EPAA is a project of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Secondary Education in Argentina during the 1990s: The Limits of a Comprehensive Reform Effort Jorge M. Gorostiaga University of Pittsburgh Clementina Acedo University of Pittsburgh Susana E. Xifra International Institute of Educational Planning-UNE SCO Buenos Aires, ArgentinaCitation: Gorostiaga, J. Acedo, C., Xifra, S. (May 29, 2003). Secondary education in Argentina during the 1990s: The limits of a compreh ensive reform effort. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11 (17). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v11n17/.AbstractThe reform of secondary education has been a fundam ental part of national

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2 of 28educational policy in Argentina since the beginning of the 1990s. Along with the decentralization of responsibilities to provinc es and a new structure of primary and secondary education, changes have affec ted the areas of curriculum design, teaching methods, teacher traini ng, school management, and information and evaluation systems. This study describes the main policies on secondary education implemented during the last decade, including their objectives and rationales. Focusing on how the reform can be seen to relate to issues of access, quality and equ ity, the study presents an analysis of its implementation, and discusses some of its effects. We argue that political, economic and technical factors as w ell as the strategies chosen by the national government resulted in a limited im plementation, and we highlight the need for considering more focused ref orm strategies, alternative models of teacher training, and a more active invol vement of teachers. (Note 1) A. IntroductionThis article examines the reform of secondary educa tion in Argentina during the 1990s. (Note 2) It provides a brief description of the main elemen ts of the reform, as well as a discussion of the implementation strategies and pro blems. We highlight different views about the effects of the new policies, particularly as they relate to two of the main objectives of the reform: increasing access for students from economically disadvantaged families and improving the quality of academic and technical sec ondary education. (Note 3) This study is based on an extensive review of official documents and secondary sources as well as on information provided by key informants. (Note 4) The reform of secondary education, which involves t he redefinition of its structure, its educational functions, and its role in contributing to national development and social integration, is gaining high priority in Latin Amer ica (Braslavsky, 2001; Wolff and Castro, 2000). Although there are important differences amo ng Latin American countries, in general, “the region is deficient in the availabili ty of places in secondary education, as well as in the provision of quality, efficiency and equi ty. The structure and often the content of secondary education is outdated” (Wolff and Castro, 2000, p. 5). In the case of Argentina, a comprehensive reform of the educational system initiated at the beginning of the 1990s proposed profound changes in the organization of secondary education, attempting a combination of "reculturing (changing norms, habits, skills and beliefs) and "restructuring" (changing formal struc tures) processes both at the school and at central levels (see Fullan, 1993). "Restructuring" took place through the decentralization of the administration of national secondary schools to provinces; the establishment of a new structure that extends compulsory education from se ven to ten years and creates a common upper secondary school with different orientations; the establishment of a new mechanism of curriculum design; and the development of evaluatio n and information systems. Elements more related to "reculturing" included the re-train ing of teachers aiming at upgrading subject knowledge and teaching methods; and the development of a new model of management that encourages school autonomy.As Levin (2001, p. 6) points out, “The task of the analyst… is to consider the ways in which policies are driven by a particular logic or ideolo gy, but also the ways in which they are shaped by other factors—historical, cultural, insti tutional, and political—that are far less

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3 of 28predictable.” In this article we argue that the cas e at hand represents an ambitious effort of comprehensive reform, complicated by the dynamics o f a federal system. This effort encountered important barriers in political, econom ic and technical factors, but also as a result of a reform strategy that neglected broad di scussion and participation, particularly from teachers. Such barriers shaped the reform poli cies in various ways, as is particularly illustrated by the different provincial responses a nd the teachers' reactions.B. The Argentine Education System, the Context, and the Rationales for Secondary Education ReformSince the beginning of the 20th century, the struct ure of the Argentine school system was typically organized around a compulsory primary edu cation of seven years beginning at the age of six, and secondary education system with sch ools usually offering five years of instruction. In 1905, a law authorized the federal government to create and administer its own schools within the provinces, establishing a na tional system besides the various provincial systems of primary and secondary schools Initially, secondary education had the objectives of preparing students for teaching at th e primary level or for entering the University, but through the years, new types of sec ondary schools were created, most notably technical schools with a vocational orienta tion. (Note 5) During the 1980s and with the reestablishment of de mocratic rule – which brought about greater responsiveness to the demands for access th rough the elimination of entrance exams and the construction of new buildings for secondary schools – a remarkable expansion of secondary education took place. (Note 6) The secondary net enrollment rate went from 33.4% in 1980 to 53.5% in 1991. (Note 7) Regional differences, however, remained high: in 1991, the city of Buenos Aires showed a net enrollment of around 72% while the figure for a province like Chaco (in the less-developed northeas t region) was approximately 38% (Tiramonti, 1995).The reestablishment of democratic political institu tions also allowed for a more open and broader-based discussion of the structure and conte nt of education. With the Pedagogic Congress (Congreso Pedaggico Nacional, 1986-88), w hich involved teachers, parents, community members, students and representatives of different organizations, “an effort began to build consensus and to seek out or create new policies and action strategies” (Braslavsky, 1998, p. 299). As a result of this eff ort, the government began to work on the design of a new law of education.During the 1990s Argentina experienced a profound r eform of the educational sector as part of a general restructuring of the state, as well as of attempts to 'modernize' the country and adapt to international economic competition. Carlos Menem’s administration (1989-1999) carried out a deep neoliberal economic reform, incl uding the opening of markets to international trade, the privatization of state-own ed companies, and the deregulation of economic activities. The Argentine economy showed h igh growth rates during the early 1990s (averaging more than 8% annual growth between 1991 and 1994), but the decade ended with a situation of recession and uncertainty At the same time, "poverty levels stubbornly stayed high despite rapid economic growt h… [and] rising income inequality and high unemployment, especially for the unskilled, [i ndicated] that the benefits of growth [were] not widely shared" (World Bank, 2000a, p. 3) (Note 8) The influence of international lending organizations has been very important in th e process of economic restructuring, and the World Bank and the Inter-American Development B ank have participated in the

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4 of 28 financing of educational reform.Educational reform was supposed to introduce change s in a public school system considered to be in crisis. (Note 9) There was a general agreement in the need for orga nizational and instructional innovations to improve quality and to provide students socially meaningful knowledge (Braslavsky and Tiramonti, 1990; Frigerio 1995). National and provincial ministries of education appeared to lack the capaci ties to govern the system and affect the work of schools (Braslavsky, 1998). The fragmentati on of the system implied great inequalities, as schools varied in the quality and type of services they offered to different groups of students. During the 1980s, the combinati on of increases in enrollments and lack of investment in the educational system resulted in overcrowded schools and classrooms and accentuated the sense of crisis.The gross enrollment rate became more stable in the 1990s af ter the remarkable growth of the early 1980s (see Table 1). By the end of the 19 90s, the secondary graduation rate was around 52% (World Bank, 2000). The repetition rate was 9% for 1997, while the dropout rate for 1996 was 42% (Experton, 1999). It is also important to note, again, that there have been are significant variations among provinces, an d that repetition and dropout rates have been particularly high among students from low-inco me families. Table 1 Secondary Education Gross Enrollment Ratios in Arge ntina (1970-97) YearGross Enrollment Ratio 197044.4197553.8198056.2198570.2199071.1199572.7199773.3Source: UNESCO Indicators, in www.unesco.org/educat ion/information.Some of the main problems affecting secondary educa tion at the beginning of the 1990s were: the high dropout and repetition rates (partic ularly during the first and second years of secondary school), outdated curriculum and instruct ional methods, and the limited enrollment of students of low socio-economic status (Braslavsky, 1999; World Bank, 1995). Technical education especially suffered a low level of investment in educational resources as well as a lack of relevance of educational contents (Experton, 1999). The coexistence in the provinces of a national and provincial system of se condary education implied inefficiencies and conflicts regarding aspects like financing and the transfer of students from one system to another. In addition, the administration of the national secondary system was seen as too centralized as well as lacking effective supervisio n over schools (Morduchowicz, 1999).

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5 of 28C. Educational Reform during the 1990sThe two main steps in the reform of education were the transfer of all national secondary schools and teacher training institutes to the prov inces in 1992-93 (Law No. 24049) and the enactment in 1993 of the Federal Law of Education ( Law No. 24195), the first general law of education in the history of Argentina. (Note 10) The Federal Law of Education (along with the Law of Higher Education enacted in 1995) s pelled out a comprehensive reform of the whole educational system.At the beginning of the 1990s, around 60% of public secondary schools were under national administration. However, there were significant dif ferences between provinces. In some provinces (e.g., La Pampa, San Juan, Tucumn), seco ndary education was mainly provided by private and public national schools, and the pro vincial sector was very small. In provinces like Chaco, Rio Negro and Santa Cruz, les s than 15% of secondary schools depended on the national government (Tiramonti and Braslavsky, 1995, pp. 61-62). The transfer of all national secondary schools and post-secondary institutions to the provinces in 1992 – completing the process initiate d by the military government in 1978 with the transfer of national primary schools – was mainly driven by financial reasons (Filmus, 1998; Senn Gonzlez and Arango, 1997). (Note 11) Provinces agreed to receive the national secondary and post-secondary systems, but were not given specific resources to face the economic effort that the transfer represen ted. The national government argued that from 1991 significant increases in tax collection i mplied more resources for the provinces, which allowed them to finance the administration of the transferred schools (Senn Gonzlez and Arango, 1997).In addition, many provincial administrations lacked the necessary technical expertise and resources to manage the new system (Garca de Fanel li, 1997; Puiggrs, 1997). In some provinces, the decentralization was followed by an actual reduction of teachers’ salaries in the context of a fiscal crisis accelerated by the b urden that the transfer of schools implied (Filmus, 1998; Senn Gonzlez, 1997).The Federal Law of Education (1993) established the responsibilities for each level of government as well as the coordination mechanisms. The national Ministry of Culture and Education is now responsible for evaluating and mon itoring the educational system, ensuring adherence to national policies, providing financial and technical assistance to improve the quality and equity of the system, and d eveloping a federal management information system. The 23 provinces and the city o f Buenos Aires (federal district) have the responsibilities of funding, administration, and ma nagement of schools, including the hiring and training of teachers. (Note 12) The Federal Council on Culture and Education ( Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin ) is the organization in which the national policy and its implementation are discussed with the provinces. Th e national and provincial ministries of education are part of this organization.The new model that emerges is one of a stronger cen ter with few (but strategic) responsibilities (e.g., the planning of general pol icies and evaluation of the system). Another important element of the law was that it establishe d an increase of the resources for the financing of education from national and provincial governments: educational budgets were to be doubled gradually with an annual increase of 20%.

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6 of 28According to Decibe (1998, pp. 3-4), who was one of the ministers of education during the reform, the decentralization of secondary schools a nd the new division of responsibilities aimed at strengthening federalism and local governm ent institutions, including the schools. In this process, she argues, the national governmen t should keep the capacity to lead policies, given the links between education and the possibilities of economic and social growth.What follows is a description of the main component s of the reform that were prompted by the Federal Law of Education, including: a new stru cture of the educational system, new systems of curriculum design, teacher training, inf ormation and evaluation, a new model of school management, and the compensatory programs.1.The New Structure of the SystemThe Federal Law of Education (1993) created a new a cademic structure which starts with an initial level up to the age of five, continues with a nine-year stage of Educacin General Bsica (Basic General Education), or EGB, plus three year s of Polimodal Education, and ends with the higher-education level (comprising un iversities and tertiary institutions). Compulsory schooling comprises a ten-year period: t he last year of the initial level (5-year-old children) and a nine-year stage corresp onding to the EGB, divided in 3 cycles of three years each. Secondary or middle education can be considered to include now the EGB3 (7th, 8th and 9th grades or years) and Polimodal (or Multimodal) cycles (see Figure 1). Figure 1. The new structure of the Argentine educat ion systemSource: National Ministry of Culture and Education (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1997)In the national reform strategy, the creation of th e Third Cycle was meant to address what many considered an abrupt change for students in th e transition from primary to secondary

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7 of 28school (e.g., Braslavsky, 1999), and to respond to the specific needs of young teenagers (Ministerio de Educacin, 2000a, p. 6). In addition the implementation of both the Third Cycle and the Polimodal should have involved strategies for improving equi ty and the quality of instruction for low-income students.The Polimodal lasts 3 years and offers a common general educatio n (comprising at least 50% of the instructional time) (Note 13) along with five different orientations or modaliti es (around 30% of instructional time): (Note 14) humanities and social sciences; natural sciences; economics and administration/management; production of goods and services; and communication, arts and design. Each school can off er one or more modalities and students have to choose one modality. The Polimodal should address with equal weight three different aspects of the education of students: pre paration for citizenship and ethics, preparation for work, and preparation for further s tudies (Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin, 1996).Professional technical training is offered through Trayectos Tcnicos Profesionales (TTPs), or Technical Professional Qualifications. These cou rses of study can be followed with or after the Polimodal, and grant the title of “techni cian” in different areas, including not only those linked with construction, agriculture and ind ustry sectors, but also others like public health, computer science, tourism, etc. (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1997). Provinces should decide how to organize the supply of differe nt orientations and different technical specializations, taking into account local needs an d school institutional capacities. According to Braslavsky (1999), the organization of the Polimodal and the technical specializations respond to the need for training st udents in a way that enable them both to find a first job and to adapt to a constant changin g job market. At the same time, they offer a common educational experience along with enough fle xibility to integrate the content of training to the characteristics of local communitie s and contexts. In this way, the new organization of secondary school, including the tec hnical component, seems to aim at finding a balance between a general education that enables students to advance to higher levels of instruction and a technical-professional training that prepares for specific jobs. In 1995, the National Ministry created the Institut e of Technological Education (INET), which has organized the implementation of technical specializations by adapting the centrally defined curricular frameworks to local re alities, integrating them to the Polimodal and identifying training needs for teachers in tech nical areas (Experton, 1999, p. 27). One of the main functions of the INET is to respond to the needs of the productive sector. It is argued that a new relationship of education-employm ent is being established by the creation of more effective mechanisms of communication and d ebate among teachers, educational officers, and representatives of workers and busine ssmen (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1997).The Federal Council established that the new struct ure should be completely in place by the year 2000, allowing each province to decide on how to implement it (e.g., more or less gradual, use of pilot schools, etc.). (Note 15) The EGB3 has been gradually implemented in almost all provinces since 1996. Regarding the Polimodal the provinces of Crdoba and Buenos Aires started its full implementation in 199 9, while most provinces have a slower pace.2. Curricular Reform

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8 of 28The curricular reform has been another important in itiative encouraged by the national government since 1994. The national Ministry and th e Federal Council worked out a general framework for all of the elementary and high school s in the country, aiming at giving coherence to the educational system. Traditionally, provinces presented a great heterogeneity of educational programs (Gvirtz, 1995) and, for eac h type of secondary education, there was a common curriculum which was adapted further at th e school level, resulting in an “anarchic diversity” (Braslavsky, 1999, p. 84).There are three levels in the design of the new cur ricula. At the more general level, the Federal Council sets the general objectives and gui delines (Common Basic Contents or “contenidos bsicos”). (Note 16) At the provincial level – including the city of Bu enos Aires – more specific objectives and guidelines are devel oped which take into account the reality of each province. The final design of the curriculu m at the school level involves principals and teachers making decisions on content and instru ctional approaches. The Federal Council has stated that the school is the fundamental unit for the specification of the educational project, so the nation and the provinces should lea ve to the schools the responsibility of developing a curriculum that responds to the local realities and needs (“Criterios para la planificacin de Diseos Curriculares Compatibles e n las Provincias y la MCBA, res. 37/94,” in Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1996b ). At the Polimodal level, in addition to the adaptation of provincial curriculum designs, 20 % of the content should be determined by the school (Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin, 1996). In addition to the Common Basic Contents, in 1998, when provinces like Buenos Aires and Crdoba were already implementing the third cycle o f the EGB, the Federal Council agreed to establish a common curricular structure for the EGB3 with nine “curricular spaces:” Spanish, mathematics, social sciences, natural scie nces, foreign language, arts education, technology, ethics and citizenship, and physical ed ucation. A similar agreement was reached for the Polimodal and the technical specializations, establishing th e five modalities mentioned above, and the possibility of a variety o f technical-professional training courses. 3. Teacher TrainingThe design of new curricula implied the need for th e re-training of teachers and principals. Teachers were considered to have a very low degree of both pedagogical skills and subject knowledge. The Federal Network of Teacher Training was designed to prepare teachers for the curricular changes, update their skills in subj ect matter, and improve their use of educational materials and computers. Specific train ing – which took place outside schools – was offered for teachers at the EGB3 and at the Polimodal cycles, while encouraging university education for teachers at the Polimodal cycle. An innovative aspect of the network was that principals, also, received specifi c training. Both Teacher Training Institutes (either under prov incial or private administration) and universities are considered to be part of the new t raining system, under the supervision of the provincial ministries. The curricula of Teacher Tra ining Institutes were also redesigned with three levels of specificity: national, provincial, and institutional. The new system was supposed to train future teachers as well as retrai n all of the teachers already working at schools (World Bank, 1995; Decibe, 1998).4. Education Information and Student Evaluation Sys tems

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9 of 28A National System of Educational Quality Assessment has been created in the last years. Since 1993, a national evaluation has been done yea rly using two kinds of instruments: 1) multiple choice tests to evaluate students’ perform ance in different disciplines, and 2) questionnaires to school administrators, teachers, and families to gather information about institutional management, classroom practices, and students’ background, attitudes, and habits of study (Decibe, 1998).Multiple-choice tests have been administered to sam ples of students at primary and secondary levels, and the results have been publici zed. From 1997, all students finishing the secondary level are evaluated in the areas of Spani sh and mathematics. The tests have shown that students are not performing well, that private schools do better than public, and that urban schools do better than rural. The results hav e increased awareness about the low quality of instruction at schools and provide some legitimization for the reforms. The National Network of Educational Information has helped advancing in the development of (and coordination among) provincial units of edu cational information as well as in the use of information for decision-making. The first natio nal census of teachers and educational institutions took place in 1994 (Decibe, 1998).5. A New Model of School ManagementThe national government encouraged from the mid 199 0s a new model of school through the Condiciones Bsicas Institucionales (Institutional Basic Conditions). The institutiona l conditions were proposed from the national level to the provinces as guidelines for the management of all schools in the country (Ministeri o de Cultura y Educacin, 1996c) and were related to the objectives of consolidating the school as the basic unit of management and strengthening its autonomy (Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin, 1994). The main idea is that the application of new curric ular guidelines requires changes in the management and organization of schools in order to be effective and to facilitate instructional innovations. Changes in the managemen t dimension have the objectives of encouraging the participation of the school actors and facilitating the organizational changes that would result in the transformation of instruct ional practices. It is argued that each school should make its own decisions on the use of the tim e (e.g., replacing the traditional classroom hour by different units of time), the use of space (e.g., classrooms in which students are allowed to move among “corners” with d ifferent activities), and grouping practices (e.g., more than one teacher working with students in a jointly planned activity; students of different ages grouped together for a s pecial activity) (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1996c).The Institutional Educational Project (IEP) became the main tool for the new model of school. It is a document produced by each school el aborating and adapting the Provincial Curricular Design and deciding how to deliver the c urriculum. Each school is invited to build its own organizational and management structu re based on its needs, its reality, and the people who are part of the school. The IEP is the m echanism that should allow the school to mediate between the general educational guidelines (at national and provincial levels) and the local context. The official proposals stress th e importance of teamwork, involving all of the school actors and the local community working o n defining the mission and objectives of schools and how these are achieved both at the i nstitutional and classroom levels. The

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10 of 28instructional practices should be the “result of an action which is deliberately and consciously planned by the institutional [school] a ctors, within the frame of the national and provincial political guidelines” (Ministerio de Cul tura y Educacin, 1996c, p. 33). The central element of the IEP is the school curricular project in which teachers and principals are given central participation.6. Compensatory ProgramsThe Federal Law established a compensatory role for the national government, which translated into the Social Plan for Education ( Plan Social Educativo ), designed to provide federal funds for improving facilities, computers a nd textbooks directly to the poorest primary and secondary schools in the country. The S ocial Plan reached more than 17,000 schools and about 3.6 million students during the p eriod between 1993 and 1998; in the Northeast region, for example, it covered nearly 87 % of all schools (Morduchowicz, 1999). The new emphasis on compensatory programs can be se en as responding to a social context of increasing fragmentation and marginalization (se e Minujin and Kessler, 1995). The government recognized that social segmentation and impoverishment translate into schools with different levels of resources serving differen t groups of students. The aim of one of the programs, for example, is “to provide poorer childr en with the same (pedagogic) resources as the most privileged ones” (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1997, p. 44). The different programs of the Social Plan included the construction of new classrooms for the EGB3 cycle, the provision of scholarships for s tudents from low-income families to help them attend the EGB3 and Polimodal cycles, and the Proyecto Tercer Ciclo de la Educacin General Bsica Rural which since 1996 provided technical and financial assistance for the implementation of the EGB3 in rural schools. In 199 9, this specific project covered about 24% of rural schools in the country, distributed in 21 out of 24 provinces (Gozman and Jacinto, 1999).D. Implementation Strategies and ProblemsIn general, the implementation of the reform has be en characterized by a new form of relationships between the national and provincial m inistries of education, the support of international organizations (like the World Bank, I DB and UNESCO), and the opposition of teachers' unions.1. The Role of International OrganizationsDuring the period between 1995 and 1999, the loans from IDB and the World Bank for the financing of reforms represented 2% of global educa tional expenditures (at the national and provincial levels). During that period, the World B ank invested US$410 million for the Decentralization and Improvement of Secondary Educa tion Project, while IDB provided US$600 million for the Educational Reform and Inves tment Program (Decibe, 1998). The World Bank project focused on the EGB3 and Polimodal cycles. It supported: the strengthening and modernization of administrative, evaluation and planning capacities and systems at the provincial level; curriculum develop ment; provision of educational resources (textbooks, libraries, computer and science laborat ories, etc.); school expansion and rehabilitation; and the development of school-based improvement projects (Institutional Educational Projects) (World Bank, 1995; 2000). The IDB program focused on the EGB and

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11 of 28teacher training.According to Tiramonti (1996, pp. 15-16), internati onal organizations like UNESCO and the World Bank defined the general agenda of educationa l reform, but the Argentine government had some possibilities of negotiating ho w to use the loans received. Cocorda (1999), on the other hand, holds that the governmen t tended to invest in the areas prioritized by the World Bank and IDB without its own diagnosti c of the educational sector. 2. The Relationship Between the Central Government and the Provinces In the implementation of the Federal Law and relate d changes, the national government followed two strategies in the period between 1994 and 1999 (Senn Gonzlez, 2000): 1) working with the provincial MOEs to build consensus and legitimacy through the Federal Council on Education; and 2) working directly with schools through specific programs. Another characteristic of the manner in which the n ational government guided the reform was to initiate all of its elements simultaneously, attempting to complete many of them in a relatively short time (Experton, 1999, p. 7).As was shown in the previous section, the national government played a prominent role in designing educational policy and programs, some of which were supposed to support and coordinate provincial efforts in the main aspects o f the reform. In the new scenario established by the Federal Law of Education, the na tional policy and its implementation were to be discussed with the provinces at the meet ings of the Federal Council on Culture and Education ( Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin ). The Federal Council advanced in the definition of some of the main elements of the reform like the new structure of the system, the new system of educator training, the cu rricular reform, and the development of the evaluation system.Apparently, the Federal Council did not have an act ive role in the production of proposals, but discussed the initiatives and documents produce d by the National Ministry of Culture and Education. The decisions of the Federal Council are not compulsory for the provinces, but some argue that the provinces’ financial depend ence on the national government and lack of expert knowledge make them respect those de cisions (Tiramonti, 1996). (Note 17) As mentioned before, an important element of the la w was that it established that national and provincial governments should significantly inc rease the resources for the financing of education. Although the specified goal was not achi eved (public educational budgets were supposed to reach 6% of the gross national product (GNP)), educational expenditures did grow in the context of a general expansion of publi c expenditures. (Note 18) The Federal Pact on Education ( Pacto Federal Educativo ) was signed in 1994 by all provincial governors and the President, and it esta blished a commitment from the national government to invest US$3 billion during a five-yea r period to fund provincial needs in the areas of educational infrastructure and equipment, and teacher training. Provinces committed to implementing the Federal Law and to in vesting in the reforms (Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin, 1994).From 1995, when the Mexican financial crisis impact ed Argentina, the expenditures expansion decreased (see Table 2). In the period be tween 1992 and 1997, the national government almost doubled its educational expenditu res while provinces (including the city of Buenos Aires) increased their expenditures to ab out 40% (see Table 3).

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12 of 28 The strategy for involving provinces was facilitate d by the fact that the same political party ( Peronismo or Partido Justicialista ) administered the national and almost all provinci al governments during the 1990s. Table 2 General Educational Expenditures in the Period 1992 -1997 (in US$ millions) 1992US$ 7.8981993US$ 9.5311994US$10.8441995US$11.136 1996*US$11.3021997*US$11.796 The data for these years are provisional. Source: D.N.P.G.S.—Secretara de Programacin Econ mica. Ministerio de Economa y Obras y Servicios Pblicos, Argentina.Table 3 Educational Expenditures (in US$ millions) for the Period 1992-1997, by Level of Government YearNational Provinces andCity of Buenos Aires MunicipalitiesTotal 19921993199419951996*1997* 1.3621.6911.9852.0862.2132.556 6.0577.1358.0668.2738.3698.490 159190204194196200 7.5789.01610.25510.55310.77811.246 The data for these years are provisional. Source: D.N.P.G.S. Secretara de Programacin Eco nmica. Ministerio de Economa y Obras y Servicios Pblicos.The only jurisdiction that strongly resisted the na tional proposals was the city of Buenos Aires, which enjoys a high level of resources and w here Peronism has always been a minority in electoral terms. The provinces of Bueno s Aires and Crdoba, with high level of resources, also showed some independence from the n ational government (Senn Gonzlez, 2000).In general, provinces appeared to accept the nation al initiatives because of the additional funds these initiatives represented in a context of provincial fiscal crisis (Senn Gonzlez, 2000). However, many provinces had an inadequate le vel of financial and technical resources to implement various aspects of the refor m proposed at the central level (Experton, 1999; Garca de Fanelli, 1997). Some ana lysts argue that the national government

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13 of 28between 1993 and 1999 failed to support technically the provincial MOEs – which presented differing needs and capacities – for an effective i mplementation of the new policies (Senn Gonzlez, 2000; Roggi, 2001).3. Implementation at the Provincial LevelProvinces adopted different responses to national p olicies and projects, according to their financial and technical resources as well as local politics. An example of the different provincial strategies for the implementation of edu cational changes was the reform of the structure of primary and secondary education. Provi nces like Buenos Aires and Crdoba designed their own policies with regard to the loca lization and the role of the EGB3 cycle, which includes the last year of the former primary and the first two years of the former secondary cycle. The province of Buenos Aires decid ed to implement an “institutional model” of EGB that includes the three cycles, from the 1st to the 9th year or grade. (Note 19) By contrast, Crdoba decided that the EGB3 and the Polimodal should constitute two cycles of the new Middle Schools. Most provincial g overnments seemed to choose a mixed model, where the third cycle of the EGB is placed i n new buildings or in schools offering either the other two cycles of EGB or the Polimodal depending on the availability of space at the buildings, their geographical location, and in negotiation with different actors (community, supervisors, school principals, local t eachers' union, parents) (Ministerio de Educacin, 2000b). In the cases of the city of Buen os Aires and the province of Ro Negro, the new structure has not been implemented at all ( Ministerio de Educacin, 2000d), while many other provinces have recently started the intr oduction of the new cycles, involving a limited number of schools (Aguerrondo et al., 2000) (Note 20) Provinces have also showed significant variations w ith regard to curricular aspects. In terms of the number of subjects, for example, 13 subjects are offered in the EGB3 cycle in Cordoba, while in the province of Buenos Aires ther e are just seven “curricular spaces.” At the same time, most provinces seem to be increasing the number of hours at least for the academic or traditional curricular areas (language, math, social sciences and natural sciences), but in some cases, like in the province of Salta, they do not respect the minimum established (Ministerio de Educacin, 2000c, p. 7).For the EGB3 cycle, which implies the extension of compulsory education to the 8th and 9th years, provinces have faced financial problems as w ell as challenges in the availability and relocation of teachers. In some provinces, decision s about who should teach at this level (primary maestros vs. secondary profesores ) and with what kind of retraining were not carefully planned. Many appointed teachers did not have the necessary training, and many posts were not covered at all (Ministerio de Educac in, 2000b). In most cases, both primary and secondary teachers have been included in the EG B3 cycle, but this has resulted in tensions between the two groups and the particular ways in which they conceive the teaching and learning processes (Ministerio de Educacin, 20 00e, p. 18). Another problem has been the lack of training for teachers who would hold ne w positions as “coordinator” of the cycle or “tutors” (new positions created with the EGB3) ( ibid, p. 12). There are also questions about the capacities of principals to deal with the new structure of basic education (Krichesky and Capellacci, 1999).The national initiative for the retraining of teach ers appeared as one of the most difficult reform elements to implement. According to the Nati onal Confederation of Teachers’ Unions and based on a survey of teachers’ opinions, teachers have found difficulties

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14 of 28attending training courses, mainly because of finan cial and time limitations (CTERA, 2001). In some cases, the content and quality of teacher t raining courses have not satisfied teachers (Casassus, et al., 1998).4. The Relationship Between Central Government and the Schools and the Movement toward School AutonomyThe Social Plan for Education ( Plan Social Educativo ), previously described, can be considered as an example of the direct relationship that the national government established with some schools. Another example is New School ( Nueva Escuela) a program implemented from 1994 (reaching 1100 schools in 199 5, though most of them in an indirect way) (Tiramonti, 1996). The New School program atte mpted to facilitate the development of the new and more autonomous model of school managem ent. Similar to the mechanism employed in the Social Plan, each province selected a coordinator and a group of schools to participate in the program; the national government provided funds and technical assistance for carrying out the school projects. (Note 21) With regard to the implementation of the new model of school management, it has been evaluated that decentralization at the school level was more rhetorical than real (Experton, 1999, p. 59), while the design of the IEPs at schoo ls was done with limited participation of teachers and local communities and with a lack of m easurable and clear objectives (Experton, 1999, p. 28).The differences among schools in terms of cultural and material resources are a big challenge for moving toward more autonomous forms o f organization and management if autonomy is expected to improve the quality of educ ation for all. In the words of somebody who was actively involved in the analysis and plann ing of educational reform during the 1990s, “The main risk in the current reconversion o f the educational system is that only private schools attended by the higher-income popul ation, and public schools that participate in plans and projects for offering targeted assista nce, will be able to gain the kind of autonomy needed to adopt their own proposals for re structuring the system” (Braslavsky, 1998).5. Teachers' Salaries and Political ResistanceIn addition to the limited capacities of provinces, low teachers’ salaries and the unions’ opposition to reforms have been considered strong b arriers for the implementation of the new policies. (Note 22) Teachers’ unions seemed to see the reforms impleme nted during the Menem administrations (1989-1999) as part of a neol iberal policy that attacked public schools and tried to weaken unions’ power (CTERA, 1 997). In the province of Buenos Aires, for example, the implementation of the new s tructure has been sometimes perceived by teachers as a threat to their working conditions and their identity (Krichesky and Capellacci, 1999), and they have had very limited p ossibilities of influencing the process of educational reform (Casassus et al., 1998). Accordi ng to the cited national survey produced by CTERA, 69% of teachers report that they did not participate in the elaboration of the new curriculum, and 65% think that it hasn't had a posi tive effect on teaching (CTERA, 2001). With regard to salaries, in 1996, teachers at the s econdary level earned 60% less than in 1980 (Carnoy and Castro, 1996). Llach, et al (1999) show that teachers’ average initial salary is less than 40% of the average salary in th e formal economy. The national

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15 of 28government started to explicitly recognize the prob lem of salaries in 1998, after a year of teachers’ manifestations, with a law that provided a small increase for all teachers in the system (La Nacin, 7/9/99).The resistance of teachers’ unions and of important sectors of the main opposite political parties to significant aspects of the reform put in to question the continuity of the Federal Law when, by the end of the 1990s, a party change i n the national administration was imminent. Representatives of the political oppositi on pointed out that the national government had not attempted to achieve a broad agr eement about the direction of the reforms, had not provided the necessary funds for c arrying out the reform, and had concentrated resources centrally while leaving prov inces with the responsibility of implementation (Delich, 1999; Puiggrs, 2000; Stubr in, 1999). (Note 23) Overall, the reform advanced in aspects like curric ulum and student evaluation, (Note 24) and was accompanied by a major effort in upgrading facilities and providing resources for some of the schools in the poorest areas of the cou ntry. On the other hand, it faced many problems in the area of teacher training, made litt le progress in developing a new model of a more autonomous school with participation of teache rs and local community, and resulted in an uneven implementation of the new structure.Many of the proposed changes may require a sustaine d, long-term effort, more feasible if it is based on social consensus and the involvement of a wide range of actors. As Fullan (1993, p. 49) points out, “the hardest core to crack is th e learning core—changes in instructional practices and in the culture of teaching toward gre ater collaborative relationships among students, teachers and other potential partners" as well as, we would add, among educational bureaucrats, teachers, principals and supervisors. "Stated differently, to restructure is not to reculture… Changing formal structures is not the sa me as changing norms, habits, skills and beliefs” (Ibid.). In the case of Argentina, there a re indications that while the process of restructuring has faced significant barriers, it is at the level of reculturing where reform strategies are more in need of refinement, and of s ecuring the support of educational actors as well as the different levels of government.E. The Effects of the Reforms: Quantitative Expansi on and Quality Improvement?It is difficult to evaluate the effects of secondar y education reform since its implementation is a recent process. Some authors hold that the “pr imarization” of the old 1st and 2nd years of secondary education (now the 8th and 9th years o f the EGB) has negative pedagogic effects since it involves a uniform approach that d oes not respond to the specific needs and problems of teenagers (see Puiggrs, 1997). In addi tion, it is argued that the different structures of secondary education within and among provinces result in a fragmented system (FIEL, 2000; Puiggrs, 2000).A document produced by FIEL (Fundacin de Investiga ciones Econmicas Latinoamericanas), a research institution linked to business groups, regrets the neglect of technical education, states that “the extension of a generalist academic education [through the EGB] does not appear as the best strategy for s tudent retention” (p. 105), and concludes that the reform of the educational structure has be en “costly, harmful in some aspects, and not necessary in other aspects” (FIEL, 2000, p. 110 authors’ translation). According to this document, compulsory education could have been exte nded without changing the structure,

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16 of 28while technical education should be offered at the EGB3 cycle, which would make schooling more attractive and useful for students f rom low economic status. Teachers’ unions also tend to criticize the change of structure and its pedagogic effects. Some of the critiques that teachers’ unions make to changes affecting secondary education are reflected in the following quotes from a docume nt produced by one of the most representative groups of the province of Buenos Air es: [The EGB] deepened the fragmentation of the educati onal system and caused fractures in the school organization… This discourse [of the reform] translated into lack of consideration of the characteristics of teenagers, of institutional cultures, of work conditions, and of teacher training… One of the most harmful effects of the re form is the disarticulation and disappearance of middle, technical and agrarian sch ools (SUTEBA, 1999, pp. 4 and 6, authors’ translation).By contrast, other analyses argue that learning con ditions have improved through the updating of curriculum content and teaching methods as well as through the upgrading of buildings and equipment (Braslavsky, 1999). Nationa l and provincial governments that implemented the reform during the 1990s and the int ernational organizations that supported it tend to point to increases in enrollment and ret ention rates as one of the main benefits of the changes introduced (see, for example, Decibe, 1 998). (Note 25) The national government also claims that the evaluations of students’ learn ing show improvements in the performance of students, particularly in the poorest regions of the country, and that such improvements can be related to the educational compensatory acti ons of the federal government (Decibe, 1998, p. 24).In relation to the effects of the reform on enrollm ents, some studies have been produced for the province of Buenos Aires, one of the most advan ced in implementing the reform, and the most important in terms of the number of students, teachers and buildings. Most studies argue that the reform has been effective in increas ing enrollment at the secondary level, but they point to the enduring problems of repetition a nd ineffective retention. Morduchowicz (1999) reports that in 1997, the number of students attending 8th year (previously the 1st year of secondary) increased 14%, while Casassus et al. (1998) show that the retention rate for the same grade and year increased about 17%. Su rez and Balduzzi (1998), on the other hand, point to the relative value of enrollment inc reases. They argue that the incorporation of many students was formal rather than real because o f the lack of conditions for student learning and for assuring their permanence in the s ystem. They show that only 27% of the students enrolled in 8th year during 1997 achieved the minimum learning requirements, while around 11% of the students dropped out. At th e same time, according to their data, only 16% of students were absent from class less th an three days per month on average. Krichesky and Capellacci (1999) also show some incr eases in the number of students attending the 8th and 9th years, while suggesting t hat schools do not employ effective strategies for the retention of students, particula rly those of low SES. Other studies about the implementation of the EGB3 in different contexts also point to improvement in enrollment rates. In the case of the province of La Pampa, the trends toward increasing enrollment and decreasing dropout rates were accelerated by the implementation of the EGB3 (Duschatzky, et al, 1999). Increases in enrollment and retention rates were also found for the rural schools included in the special project of the Social Plan for the implementation of the EGB3 (Gozman and Jacinto, 199 9). (Note 26)

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17 of 28On the other hand, a document of the National MOE ( Ministerio de Educacin, 2000b) suggests that in the case of the province of Crdob a, the emphasis on improving quality that has been the rationale for the creation of the new Middle Schools comprising the EGB3 and Polimodal cycles, might contribute to an earlier exclusion o f some students from the educational system; disadvantaged students seem to be dropping out after the 6th grade (when they complete the second cycle of the EGB), i nstead of 7th grade as was the case with the former primary.With regard to the improvement of the quality of ed ucation, the lack of training of teachers and principals to deal with new responsibilities (p articularly the management of the nine-year basic education structure and its three c ycles) and curricular changes at the EGB3 cycle seems to imply a major barrier. Krichesky and Cappellacci (1999) suggest that in schools serving students of low SES, teachers and p rincipals see the focus of the EGB3 on providing social and psychological support to stude nts rather than on facilitating learning. Similar constraints seem to affect the Polimodal cycle. For the province of Buenos Aires, it is stated that “At the Polimodal level the urgency of improving teacher training and support services is even greater (than at the EGB), since t he new streams (“modalidades”) require different teaching methodologies and academic skill s. The poorest schools encounter most of the problems to implement the new regime, and ar e most urgently in need of assistance” (World Bank, 2000, p. 6).The implementation of the EGB3 (from 7th to 9th gra de) seems to involve a trade-off between coverage and quality. The linking of this c ycle with the previous cycles of general basic education (not only in terms of physical spac e but also of pedagogic practices) appears to provide more effective integration of students f rom low-income groups who tended to dropout of school after completion of the former pr imary level, but it involves the risk of "primarizing" the cycle with a decrease in the qual ity of teaching. On the other hand, when the EGB3 is integrated into the Polimodal it appears as offering a higher quality education but with less possibilities of retaining “at-risk” students (Ministerio de Educacin, 2000a).F. ConclusionDuring the 1990s, Argentina embarked in an ambitiou s reform of secondary schools and of the general educational system. While changes have affected almost all aspects of education, there are two elements of the reform that have set the framework for the implementation of other policies. The first one is the decentralizati on of national secondary schools to provinces and the new division of responsibilities between national and provincial governments. The second element is the new structur e of education, which has implied a redefinition of the functions and the content of se condary education. The reform advanced in defining a new and more cohe rent system, including the development of evaluation and information systems, and of national curricular guidelines, along with significant investments in infrastructur e. Secondary education was restructured, now comprising the third cycle of the compulsory ge neral basic education (EGB3) followed by the Polimodal and the technical specializations. Regarding the origins of these policies, Carnoy (19 99) refers to three kinds of responses in the education and training sectors as a reaction to globalization and changes in the world economy:

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18 of 28Competitiveness-Driven Reforms have as their main g oal to raise the productivity of labor and education institutions. Finance-Driven Reforms have as their main goal to r educe spending on education, with an ultimate goal of improving the productivity of labor. Equity Driven Reforms have the main goal of increas ing equality of economic opportunities. The investment in greater equity can be justified when demonstrating that goals of competitiveness are also increased (C arnoy, 1999). The case of Argentina shows a combination of the th ree, although the emphasis seemed to be put on the first type. According to Carnoy (1999 ), competitiveness-driven reforms involve changes in at least the following four cate gories: decentralization, standards, improved management of educational resources, and i mproved teacher training. As we have shown, these categories were part of the secondary reform effort in Argentina, and proposed changes were sometimes justified in terms of adapti ng the educational system to technological changes and the requirements of the g lobal economy (e.g., Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1997, 1996b). On the other han d, the transfer of schools to provinces can be characterized as a finance-driven reform, wh ile compensatory programs seem to reflect the equity rationale.The implementation of the EGB3 has resulted in an i ncrease in enrollment rates by extending the number of years that students from lo w-income groups stay in the system, but there are questions about the quality of the educat ion offered at this cycle. In addition, the identity of the EGB3 is not clear: continuation of basic education, introduction to upper secondary, or a level that addresses the specific n eeds and characteristics of young teenagers. On the other hand, as Castro, et al (2000), suggest s, the creation of the Polimodal – offering different orientations within a general academic ed ucation – may be a legitimate way of addressing “the increasingly flexible labor markets of the new global economy” (p. 14). (Note 27) The combination of the Polimodal and the technical specializations appears as a possible way of balancing general academic and more flexible skills formation for technical orientation. There are, however, actors (teachers’ unions and business groups) that consider that technical education is being neglected with th e possible effect of making secondary education less attractive to students from lowor middle-income groups. The centralized design of the new policies by a nat ional ministry, which devolved the administration and management functions to province s in order to focus on the planning and evaluation of the system, has faced problems of imp lementation derived from the limitation of financial and technical resources at the provinc ial level. In general, provinces accepted the proposals from the national level, but in many case s were not able (or willing) to provide the necessary funding to carry them out, which resulted in partial implementation, particularly visible in the aspect of the new structure of the e ducational system. This seems to indicate the need for a more careful design of policies and their implementation, taking into account the particular capacities of different provinces, a nd for more emphasis on the support to provincial ministries. The financial difficulties f or carrying out the various aspects of the reform may be indicative that a more gradual or foc used strategy would have been more appropriate.The analysis suggests that there is also a need for a more careful design of training policies and programs. As Fullan (1993) emphasizes, reform e fforts worldwide tend to underinvest in teachers' education. In the case of Argentina, i t might make more sense to organize

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19 of 28in-service training of teachers and principals at t he schools where they work, articulating such training with the design of school institution al projects (particularly the design of the school curricular project and, at the Polimodal level, the definition of the 20% of instructional content that is left to the school). There is also a need for specific training to educate students from economically disadvantaged fa milies and developing pedagogic strategies for their retention at the EGB3 and Polimodal levels, without disregarding the crucial role that central levels should play throug h compensatory policies. At the same time, the Argentine case appears to ill ustrate the need for involving teachers and their unions in a more active way, and for improvin g their working conditions, including salaries. (Note 28) It has been recognized that national authorities f ailed to include non-governmental organizations like teachers’ union s in the discussion and negotiation of educational policies, and were not able to create a broad public support for the proposed changes (Braslavsky, 1999).Although the reform has addressed significant issue s related to access, quality and equity, it is not clear at this point in time what elements of the reforms are going to be continued, modified or strengthened in the long term. By the e nd of the Menem administration, even some of the most critical voices (e.g., FIEL, 2000; Puiggrs, 2000) considered that it would not be wise to revert the reforms given that some p rovinces had considerably advanced in their implementation. During the De la Rua administ ration (Dec. 1999-Dec. 2001), the Federal Council of Education decided to give more f lexibility to provinces in the implementation of the new structure, while the Nati onal MOE began to reformulate aspects like teacher training, compensatory programs, and t he evaluation and information systems, giving high priority to the improvement of secondar y education. During 2002, in the context of a most severe social and economic crisis, nation al educational authorities focused efforts on securing funds from the IDB for the continuation of the Scholarships Program. A careful assessment, hopefully through a participatory proce ss, of the policies carried out during the last decade in order to identify how quality and eq uity aspects can be enhanced in the short and long terms is still due.NotesThis article builds upon research conducted at the Institute for International Studies in Education (University of Pittsburgh) for the Second ary Education Reform Project, which was funded by USAID and directed by Clementin a Acedo (see Acedo, 2002). We are grateful for the valuable feedback provided to previous versions of this paper by: Ana Donini (Universidad Nacional de San Martn) Mark Ginsburg (University of Pittsburgh), John Hatch (USAID), Mariano Narodowski and Milagros Nores (Centro de Polticas Educativas, Fundacin Gobierno y Socie dad), and MinHo Yeom (University of Pittsburgh). 1. The article focuses on the reform that the Menem ad ministrations (1989-1999) carried out. In December 1999, a center-left coalition repl aced the Peronist party in the presidency of Argentina. 2. We focus on implementation and, to a lesser extent, on outcomes with some references to the origins and to the process of adoption of the "policy stages" of reform policies (for a discussion of the stages of educational policies see Levin, 2001). 3. The identification of official documents as well as the contacts with informants were carried out by the third author, based in Buenos Ai res, during the first semester of 2001. Secondary sources were identified through lit erature searches and through 4.

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20 of 28conversations with Argentine researchers that the f irst author held in the context of this and other research projects on Argentine educa tional reform. Key informants included: Daniel Agostino (Student Scholarships Pro gram, National Ministry of Education); Ins Aguerrondo (International Institut e of Educational Planning-Buenos Aires); Marta Andrade de Lago and Javier Rubio (Nat ional Center of Educational Information, National Ministry of Education); Vern ica Batiuk, Silvia Finocchio, Vctor Meckler, and Daniel Pinkasz (Curriculum Mana gement and Training Program, National Ministry of Education); Guillermo Gozman; Margarita Poggi (Former Director of Educational Planning, City of Buenos Ai res); and Cristina Tomassi (Undersecretariat of Basic Education, Province of B uenos Aires). Researchers who have collaborated at different times for the identi fication of secondary sources include: Myriam Feldfeber (Universidad de Buenos Ai res), Mariano Narodowski (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes), Silvia Senn Gon zlez (Universidad Nacional de General San Martn), and Guillermina Tiramonti (FLA CSO, Buenos Aires). In 1986, 75 % of secondary students were enrolled i n the general (more academic) tracks (Bachiller and Comercial), around 20 % in te chnical schools, and around 4 % in the more specific tracks (like agricultural or arti stic schools) (Aguerrondo, 1996, p. 110). 5. In December 1983, a democratically elected governme nt took office, an event that would mark the end of more than fifty years of alte rnation between military and democratic governments. 6. Enrollment rates relate to enrollment in a particul ar level of education to the age cohort that commonly would be expected to be partic ipating in that particular level of education. Gross enrollment rates compare all enrol lments regardless of age (thus including underand over-age students) to the “nor mal” age cohort; net enrollment rates compare only the enrollments from the normal cohort to the total population of that cohort. 7. The social and economic crisis reached its peak in December 2001, when President Fernando De la Rua was pressed to resign in a conte xt of massive street demonstrations, supermarkets ransacking, and violen t police repression. After De la Rua’s resignation, the Congress appointed an interi m President to complete the mandate and organize elections in the year 2003. Th e situation of crisis has resulted in increasing difficulties for national and provincial governments to invest in education, and to keep alive educational reform projects and c ompensatory programs. 8. Private schools play a significant role in Argentin a. For example, in 1994 almost 30% of secondary students were enrolled in private inst itutions (Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 1996a). 9. Different laws and decrees, dictated by the Congres s and the executive power since the end of the 19th century, regulated the system b efore 1993. 10. The transfer of secondary schools to provinces was one of the measures that the national government had committed to in the negotia tions for external credits with the International Monetary Fund between 1989 and 1991 ( Senn Gonzlez and Arango, 1997). 11. The modernization of provincial systems of educatio nal administration was the focus of a specific program implemented from 1996 and par tially funded by the World Bank (Decibe, 1998). 12. The Federal Council established 5 hours of instruct ional time per day and 180 days of class per year for the Polimodal cycle. 13. The content of the remaining 20% should be determin ed by each school according to its institutional project (see below the section on the new model of school 14.

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21 of 28management).Under the De la Rua national administration (Dec. 1 999-Dec. 2001), this deadline was extended to the year 2003. 15. According to Braslavsky (1998), “the Common Basic C ontents are guided toward training in basic and fundamental skills, introduci ng many procedural contents, and placing emphasis on training in conceptual thinking more than on factual contents” (p. 308). Their design was the result of a process of c onsultation with experts from different fields of knowledge and with provincial M OEs. 16. In the Argentine system, most taxes are collected b y the national government, and then distributed among the national and provincial administrations. As Senn Gonzlez (1997) states, this system has been a sour ce of conflicts and negotiation between the nation and the provinces. Since its cre ation in 1935, various legal instruments have changed the percentages for each l evel of government and the kinds of taxes included (Carciofi, et al, 1996). In addit ion, the national government has been allowed to make special contributions to provinces facing financial problems. 17. The national budget for education increased about30 % between 1993 and 1996 (Braslavsky, 1999). As Morduchowics (1999) shows, t his growth translated in an increasing transfer of funds from the national leve l to provinces and schools in the areas of infrastructure, equipment, scholarships, d evelopment of school institutional projects, and teacher training. 18. However, in some cases, the 8th and 9th years have remained located in the secondary school buildings but under the direction of the EGB principal, which has resulted in problems of communication and coordination, and in teaching styles at those years that resemble more to those of the old secondary (K richesky and Cappellari, 1999; Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin, 2000b). 19. Even in the case of the province of Crdoba it can be questioned whether the change of structure represents the implementation of the E GB and the Polimodal or of a different model. 20. For the case of the Social Plan, Puiggrs (2000) st ates that clientelistic practices have influenced the way provinces and schools are select ed. 21. For the province of Buenos Aires, for example, a Wo rld Bank document states that “progress in educational reform has been slower tha n hoped, due to Teacher and Staff Unions’ resistance to change, long standing complai nts over teacher salaries, and generally poor institutional capacities” (World Ban k, 2000, p. 7). 22. According to Puiggrs (1999), the new national admi nistration that took office in December 1999 had to accept the continuity of the F ederal Law because many provincial governments (still in the hands of the P eronist party) were in favour of advancing in its implementation. 23. There have been questions about the quality and eff iciency of the evaluation system (see La Nacin 11/23/98), and about its impact on schools and cl assrooms (Experton, 1999). 24. A World Bank (2000, p. 5) document, for example, st ates, “The ongoing reform of secondary education (in the province of Buenos Aire s) has boosted the retention rates in the EGB3 cycle and is already showing a signific ant increase in enrollment for the Polimodal cycle.” 25. By contrast, there is a general perception that fro m 2001 drop-out rates have been increasing in most provinces, particularly among te enagers, in the context of severe budgetary restrictions and the acceleration of soci al crisis. From 1998 to August 2002, the percentage of the population living in poverty increased from 27% to 53% according to official data (La Nacin, 8/21/02). 26.

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22 of 28Castro et al. hold that “In general, broad-based kn owledge geared toward problem solving seems to be more valuable to graduates over their work lives than specific vocational skills” (p. 14). In their view, that is the approach employed in the polimodales of Argentina and Mexico. 27. Tedesco (1998) notes that the neglecting of teacher s as active participants, a characteristic of many reforms in Latin America dur ing the 1990s, needs to be reversed in order to improve the effectiveness of e ducational policies. 28.ReferencesAcedo, C. and Belalczar, C. (2001). "A Literature Review: Education Reform in the 1990s." The World Bank, Education Reform and Manage ment Thematic Group. Acedo, C. (2002) (ed.). Case Studies in Secondary Education Reform Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research/USAID. Aguerrondo, I., Xifra, S., and Delamer, L. (2000). Validez nacional de Estudios y Certificaciones: Propuesta para su organizacin y g estin Document produced for the National MOE (Argentina). Buenos Aires. Aguerrondo, I. (1996). La escuela como organizacin inteligente Buenos Aires: Troquel. Balduzzi, J. and Surez, M. (1999). "La implementac in del octavo ao en las escuelas bonaerenses." Cuadernos de informes e investigacion es, SUTEBA. Braslavsky, C. (2001). Los procesos contemporneos de cambios de la educac in secundaria en Amrica Latina: Anlisis de casos en Amrica del Sur IIEP. Braslavsky, C. (1999, December). La reforma educati va en la Argentina: Avances y desafos. Propuesta Educativa 21, 80-88. Braslavsky, C. (1998). Restructuring the Argentine educational system, 1984-1995. In Tulchin, J.S., with Garland, A.M. (Eds.), Argentina: The challenges of modernization Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc. Braslavsky, C. and Tiramonti, G. (1990). Conduccin educativa y calidad de la enseanza media Buenos Aires: Mio y Dvila Editores. Carciofi, R. (coordinator), Cetrngolo, O., and Lar raaga, O. (1996). Desafos de la decentralizacin: Educacin y salud en Argentina y Chile Santiago de Chile: CEPAL. Carnoy, M. (1999) Globalization and educational reform: What planners need to know. Paris: UNESCO, Institute for International Planning Casassus, J. et al. (1998). Estudio de seguimiento y evaluacin de la Transform acin Educativa en la Provincia de Buenos Aires Buenos Aires: Oficina Regional de UNESCO-Representacin Argentina. Castro, C. de M., Carnoy, M. and Wolff, L. (2000). Secondary schools and the transition to work in Latin America and the Caribbean Washington, DC: IDB. Cocorda, E. (1999) “La reforma educativa en las pro vincias argentinas. Retos metodolgicos

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23 of 28para un anlisis en el marco de las relaciones inte rgubernamentales. Aspectos preliminaries.” Paper presented at the IV Congreso Latinoamericano de Administracin de la Educacin, Universidad Nacional de San Martn Buenos Aires, Argentina. Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin (1996). La educacin polimodal: Aportes para un Acuerdo Marco. Resolucin Nro. 54/96 Buenos Aires: Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin. Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin (1994). Pacto Federal Educativo San Juan, Argentina: Consejo Federal de Cultura y Educacin. CTERA. (2001). Consulta nacional docente: La educacin Argentina. Qu dicen los maestros? [On-line]. Available: www.suteba.org.ar CTERA. (1997). Situacin de la educacin en Argentina. Diagnstico [On-line]. Available: http://www.wami.apc.org/ctera/diagno.html Decibe, S. (1998). Transformar la educacin para la calidad y la inclusin social: La experiencia argentina. Conference organized by the World Bank, Construyendo el futuro de Amrica Latina: Asociacin pblico-privada para la educacin Washington, DC. Delich, A. (1999). Poltica educativa: Balance prov isorio del fin de un ciclo. Escenarios Alternativos 6, 60-69. Dustchatzky, S. et al. (1999). Aproximaciones al proceso de reforma en el Tercer C iclo de la Provincia de La Pampa Buenos Aires: FLACSO. Experton, W. (1999). Desafos para la nueva etapa de la reforma educativ a en Argentina Washington, DC: The World Bank. LCSHD Paper Series No. 46. Filmus, D. (1998). La descentralizacin educativa e n el centro del debate. In La Argentina que viene Buenos Aires: Norma. FIEL/Centro de Estudios Pblicos (2000). Una educacin para el siglo XXI: Propuesta de reforma Buenos Aires: FIEL. Frigerio, G. (1995). De aqu y de all: Textos sobre la institucin educ ativa y su direccin Buenos Aires: Kapelusz. Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces : Probing the depths of educational r eform London and New York: Falmer Press. Garca de Fanelli, A. M. (1997). Reformas en la edu cacin bsica y superior en la Argentina: Avances y restricciones en su implementacin. In CE PAS (Ed.), Los desafos para el Estado en la Argentina actual Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires. Gozman, G. and Jacinto, C. (1999). El desafo de la implementacin de la escolaridad e n el medio rural: el Programa del Tercer Ciclo de la EGB en escuelas rurales de Argentina Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin/Ins tituto Internacional de Planeamiento Educativo-Buenos Aires. Krichesky, M. and Cappellacci, I. (1999, December). Gestin curricular y riesgo pedaggico

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24 of 28en EGB3: Un anlisis de casos en Lomas de Zamora y La Matanza. Propuesta Educativa 21. 66-79. La Nacin (8/21/02). La crisis provoc que haya 5,2 millones de nuevos pobres. Buenos Aires. La Nacin (7/9/99). Los maestros percibirn un nic o pago de $360 en agosto. Buenos Aires. La Nacin (11/23/98). La pesada carga de las prueba s. Buenos Aires. Levin, B. (2001).Conceptualizing the process of edu cation reform from an international perspective. Education Policy Analysis Archives 9 (14). Llach, J. J., Montoya, S. and Roldn, F. (1999). Educacin para todos Crdoba: IERAL. Ministerio de Educacin (2000a). El Tercer Ciclo desde la mirada docente: Avances y desafos frente a la extensin de la obligatoriedad escolar Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Educacin, Unidad de Investigaciones Educativas. Ministerio de y Educacin (2000b). Implementacin y Localizacin del Tercer Ciclo de EGB: Las prescripciones y su impacto en los actores institucionales Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Educacin, Unidad de Investigaciones Educativas. Ministerio de Educacin (2000c). La estructura curricular bsica del Tercer Ciclo de la EGB en ocho jurisdicciones Ministerio de Educacin, Unidad de Investigacione s Educativas. Ministerio de Educacin (2000d). Estado de situacin curricular de las provincias Buenos Aires: Subsecretara de Educacin Bsica. Ministerio de Educacin (2000e). El trabajo docente en el Tercer Ciclo de la EGB. La normativa y las instituciones Ministerio de Educacin, Unidad de Investigacione s Educativas. Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin (1997). Argentine education in the society of knowledge Presented at the 29th Session of the General Confer ence UNESCO, Paris, October 1997. Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin (1996a). Censo nacional de docentes y establecimientos educativos ’94: Matrcula escolar Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin. Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin (1996b). Condiciones bsicas institucionales: Nuevos contenidos en una escuela diferente Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin. Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin (1996c). Aspectos estructurantes de la organizacin y la gestin de la escuela: el tiempo, el espacio y los agrupamientos Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Cultura y Educacin. Minujin, A. and Kessler, G. (1995). La nueva pobreza en la Argentina Buenos Aires: Editorial Planeta. Morduchowicz, A. (1999). Una mirada desde los costos del sistema educativo a rgentino

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25 of 28Informe Presentado a la Comisin de Ecologa y Desa rrollo Humano del Honorable Senado de la Nacin. Buenos Aires. Puiggrs, A. (2000). Educacin bsica y media en la Argentina de comienzos del siglo XXI. Revista Aportes 15. Puiggrs, A. (1997). La otra reforma: Desde la educacin menemista hasta el fin de siglo Buenos Aires: Galerna. Roggi, L. (2001). Esta Resolucin no ayudar a mejo rar la situacin. Novedades Educativas ,13 (123). Buenos Aires. Senn Gonzlez, S. (2000). Argentina: Actores e ins trumentos de la reforma educativa. Propuestas del centro y respuestas de la periferia. Revista Alternativas (Universidad Nacional de San Luis). Senn Gonzlez, S. and Arango, A. (1997). La descen tralizacin educativa: Poltica educativa o poltica fiscal? In Oszlak, O. (Ed.), Estado y sociedad: Las nuevas reglas del juego 1. Buenos Aires: CBC-CEA. Senn Gonzlez, S., with the collaboration of M.A. Sendn (1997). Ajuste y reforma educativa: dos lgicas en pugna III Congreso Latinoamericano de Administracin de la Educacin, UNICAMP, Campinas. Stubrin, A. (1999). Educacin, igualdad, solidarida d y cohesin. Escenarios Altenativos 6, 30-41. SUTEBA (Sindicato Unificado de los Trabajadores de la Educacin de la Provincia de Buenos Aires) (1999). Una reforma que no Transforma [On-line]. Available: www.suteba.org.ar Extracted in February, 2001. Tedesco (1998). Desafos de las reformas educativas en Amrica Latina. Propuesta Educativa ,19, 19-23. Buenos Aires. Tiramonti, G. and Braslavsky, C. (1995). Quines of recen educacin en la Argentina de hoy. In G. Tiramonti, C. Braslavsky and D. Filmus (Eds). Las transformaciones de la educacin en diez aos de democracia Buenos Aires: Tesis Norma. Tiramonti, G. (1996). Los nuevos modelos de gestion educativa y su incide ncia sobre la calidad de la educacion Buenos Aires: Flacso/Serie documentos e Informes de Investigacin, 211. Tiramonti, G. (1995). Quines van a la escuela hoy en Argentina? In G. Tiramonti, C. Braslavsky and D. Filmus (Eds.). Las transformaciones de la educacin en diez aos d e democracia Buenos Aires: Tesis Norma. Wolff, L., and Castro, C. de M. (2000). Secondary education in Latin America and the Caribbean: The challenge of growth and reform Washington, DC: IDB. World Bank. (2000). Argentina, AR BA Secondary Education II: Project co ncept document Latin America and Caribbean Region LCSHE.

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26 of 28 World Bank. (1995). Staff appraisal report. Argentina: Decentralization and improvement of secondary education and polymodal education deve lopment project Human Resources Operation Division. Report No. 14559-AR. World Bank. (1994). Staff appraisal report. Argentina: Decentralization and improvement of secondary education project Human Resources Operation Division. Report No. 12993-AR.About the AuthorsJorge M. GorostiagaUniversity of PittsburghE-mail: gorosti@pitt.edu Jorge M. Gorostiaga is a doctoral candidate in the Social and Comparat ive Analysis in Education program at the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught at universities in Argentina. His research focuses on educational refo rm. He is the co-editor (with Mark B. Ginsburg) of Dialogue among researchers, policy mak ers and practitioners: International perspectives on the field of education (Routledge F almer, 2003). Clementina Acedo5K34 Posvar HallInstitute for International Studies in EducationUniversity of Pittsburgh, PA 15260E-mail: cacedo@pitt.edu Clementina Acedo is Assistant Professor in Administrative and Polic y Studies in the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. She has worked as Education Specialist for the World Bank and as Researcher, Consultant and Pr ofessor in Caracas, Venezuela. Her recent research includes a book and articles on: Se condary education reform in the nineties in Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Romania and Indonesia a nd topics of justice and development in social and educational policy.Susana E. XifraBuenos Aires, ArgentinaE-mail: xijen@radar.com.ar Susana E. Xifra is a consultant at the International Institute of Educational Planning-UNESCO (Buenos Aires). She has taught at p rimary, secondary and university institutions. She has worked as an educational offi cial in Argentina at provincial and national levels. The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is epaa.asu.edu Editor: Gene V Glass, Arizona State UniversityProduction Assistant: Chris Murrell, Arizona State University General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, glass@asu.edu or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-2411. The

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27 of 28Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: casey.cobb@unh.edu .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin David C. Berliner Arizona State University Greg Camilli Rutgers University Linda Darling-Hammond Stanford University Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Gustavo E. Fischman California State Univeristy–Los Angeles Richard Garlikov Birmingham, Alabama Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Ontario Institute ofTechnology Patricia Fey Jarvis Seattle, Washington Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Les McLean University of Toronto Heinrich Mintrop University of California, Los Angeles Michele Moses Arizona State University Gary Orfield Harvard University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Jay Paredes Scribner University of Missouri Michael Scriven University of Auckland Lorrie A. Shepard University of Colorado, Boulder Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Kevin Welner University of Colorado, Boulder Terrence G. Wiley Arizona State University John Willinsky University of British ColumbiaEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico roberto@servidor.unam.mx Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de Guadalajaraadrianacosta@compuserve.com J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Cdizfelix.angulo@uca.es

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28 of 28 Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho dis1.cide.mx Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicocanalesa@servidor.unam.mx Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Universitycasanova@asu.edu Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Jose.Contreras@doe.d5.ub.es Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of ChicagoEepstein@luc.edu Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Universityjosue@asu.edu Rollin Kent (Mxico)Universidad Autnoma de Puebla rkent@puebla.megared.net.mx Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Airesmmollis@filo.uba.ar Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Mlagaaiperez@uma.es DanielSchugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Canadadschugurensky@oise.utoronto.ca Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)American Institutes for Resesarch–Brazil(AIRBrasil) simon@sman.com.br Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Coruajurjo@udc.es Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los Angelestorres@gseisucla.edu