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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The three major countries of North America present three different models of system development in education. As compared with Mexico, with its strong central authority, the systems of the United States and Canada are federated rather than national, with virtually all matters of funding, curriculum, licensing, and accreditation administered at provincial rather than national levels. These differences pose a problem of historical explanation. All three countries exhibited similar levels of rhetorical commitment to the idea of publicly supported systems of mass education in the 1820s. During the mid-nineteenth century, all three also adopted basic legal and administrative infrastructures for public education at provincial levels. After 1870, however, the three countries developed different patterns of national education policymaking. Based on a synthesis of focused national studies and comparative and transnational scholarship, this chapter advances an argument about how the divergences among the three systems developed and what factors help explain those differences.

Keywords: North America, education, United States, Mexico, Canada, history, comparative analysis

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