This article analyzes the transfer and 15-year policy trajectory of Colombia’s “global best practice” Escuela Nueva in Brazil. This program, initially transferred to Brazil in 1997 with the help of the World Bank, was largely unknown for the first decade of its life span. Then, between 2008 and 2011, after theWorld Bank stopped funding the program, EscuelaNueva/ Escola Ativa suddenly became one of the most well funded and controversial programs in the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Continual protest and unrest concerning the programled to its termination in 2012. This article argues that it is only possible to understand these developments through an explicit theory of the “contested” state, wherein the state’s purpose is understood as both social reproduction and mediating class conflicts. Drawing on the global policy transfer literature, this framework emphasizes the role of elite actors, transnational agencies, and grassroots mobilization in determining educational policy trajectories.
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