Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency
Analysts often blame the poor quality and uneven distribution of educational opportunities in Latin America for the region’s lackluster economic performance and enduring social inequalities. To investigate this correlation, Toledo, a scholar of education policy who served as president of Peru from 2001 to 2006, meticulously reviews the statistical evidence and professional literature to offer well-reasoned assessments of past reform efforts and cogent policy recommendations. He finds that access to education has expanded dramatically at all levels, even if the quality of education still requires substantial improvement. Toledo argues for big boosts in public investment, especially in poorer neighborhoods, as well as better salaries and training for teachers. But he also underscores that governments have to directly address poverty itself—characterized by inadequate nutrition, community violence, and resource-deprived households—if lower-income youth are to advance in large numbers. Toledo has an indigenous background and proposes that multiculturalism, mutual tolerance, and respect for others should be inculcated in schools. To realize such wide-reaching reforms, Toledo calls for visionary political leadership to build broad-based coalitions supported by the mobilization of concerned citizens.