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In the most recent issue of the Journal of Educational Change, studies highlight teacher participation in reform efforts in Mexico and a participatory approach to wide-scale change in India.
Education Reform and Teacher Participation in Mexico
In their study of Mexico’s 2006 Reforma de la Educacion Secundaria (RS) (Reform of Secondary Educatión), Levinson, Blackwood and Cross conclude that despite interest in professionalizing teaching at the secondary level, “for the most part secondary teachers in Mexico neither felt like agents nor partners in the RS…. As in previous reform efforts, teachers mostly felt that they were recipients of plans formulated by government officials, and as a result many have evidenced neither complete compliance nor full commitment to the reform.” They go on to explore the problematic role of the union in the reform and the concerns that many teachers have about the union. Recent reports from Mexico show that concerns about the union and teacher participation continue. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent education reform initiative is widely seen as an effort to diminish the power of Mexico’s teacher union, which has been led by Elba Esther Gordillo; however, it is not clear if President Nieto will provide the essential structure and support that would allow for authentic teacher participation. At this time, the teachers and union leadership have been presented in the press as allies in the effort to protest Nieto’s reform.
Wide-scale change in India
While recent attention often focuses on the regulations of the Right to Education Act in India (including recent reports and debates about the progress of this initiative), Tricia Niesz and Ramchandar Krishnamurthy suggested that the wide-scale adoption of Activity-Based Learning (ABL) in Tamil Nadu India was accomplished through a more participatory, grass-roots approach. They argue that state-level administrators “engaged strategies for change that combined both movement-building tactics and the conventional tools of administrative power.” These administrators themselves became experts in the ABL method in a way that built good will and moral authority even when administrators used top-down mandates to institutionalize the reform.