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In the 1990s, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras enacted school-based management (SBM) reforms that allowed communities to make key decisions about their schools that were previously reserved for state-appointed officials. Yet, these reforms have recently begun to slide back. What explains this trend toward reform reversal?

This paper argues that two factors determine the likelihood of the reversal of an SBM program: the scope of the reform and the level of national investment in it. Using the cases of Honduras and Guatemala, I contend these two factors determine the extent to which an SBM reform is vulnerable to events that can bring about its termination, such as changes in government, union strength, or parental pressure.

Alejandro J. Ganimian is an education post-doctoral fellow in the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia and a non-resident fellow of the Inter-American Dialogue. 

Photo Credit: Robert Valls / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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