Translating Global Ideas

How Policy Legacies and Domestic Politics Shape Education Governance in Latin America

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Acronyms and Abbreviations

Introduction: Global Ideas, Policy Variation, and the Governance of Secondary Education in Latin America

1. Policy Legacies and Domestic Conflict in the Translation of Global Ideas

2. Translation of Manpower Education Planning Ideas

3. Varieties of State Retrenchment: Market-Based and Active-State Ideas

4. The Translation of Education for All in the Era of Accountability

Paths of Translation: Implications for Future Research and Reforms


Explores the varying influence of foreign policy recommendations on education reforms in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia.


International organizations have consistently influenced education reforms in Latin America, but not all countries have adopted the same policy recommendations. This book offers a unique comparative analysis of secondary education reforms in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, from the 1960s to the 2010s, with a focus on three key areas: manpower planning, state-retrenchment (market-based versus active-state), and ideas about having a right to a quality education in an era of government accountability. While responding to similar policy recommendations, these countries have differed in how they have implemented decentralization, incorporated private actors, allocated authority over curriculum, and established instruments of accountability. Claudia Diaz-Rios traces the legacies of previous education policies and local struggles among stakeholders in reshaping—and sometimes rejecting—foreign recommendations. Translating Global Idea will be an invaluable resource for scholars of comparative politics and the globalization of education—particularly those interested in policy development in middle- and low-income countries, as well as practitioners invested in promoting education policy changes in Latin America.

Claudia Diaz-Rios is Assistant Professor in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the University of Toronto.


"This book's comparative historical approach is innovative and theoretically sophisticated. Bridging political science and comparative education policy, Diaz-Rios is able to explain the most relevant processes of change and continuity in the governance of Latin American education systems and opens a long-haul line of future research." — Antoni Verger, coauthor of The Privatization of Education: A Political Economy of Global Education Reform