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From Bad to Best : How One State and One Municipality in Brazil are Eradicating Illiteracy and Innumeracy (Francês)

One state on the northeastern coast of Brazil along with its best-performing municipality has transformed its education system in the last two decades. Ceará has jumped to fourth place among all Brazil’s states in the national ninth-grade assessment and sixth place in fifth grade. It began with political leadership. Ceará’s government placed learning at the center of the education policy with a series of reforms under three categories. First, municipalities had incentives to achieve education outcomes. Second, schools run by municipali­ties receive extensive support from the state under its liter­acy program, including a standardized learning assessment, literacy materials, workshops, and rewards for top schools that help lower-performing schools. Third, Ceará regularly monitors results. It started in the city of Sobral. In the late 1990s, a new mayoral administration began a series of reforms that changed Sobral’s learning path. The state of Ceará and the city of Sobral in Brazil provide practical examples that education systems with limited resources can achieve major learning gains with strong political leadership and a focused set of reforms.

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