Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

Tables

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pp. viii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

our decision to work together on the present project grew out of the positive experience we had on a prior one, Remembering a Massacre in El Salvador, also published by the University of New Mexico Press. When El Salvador’s Ministry of Education launched an education reform in the 1990s in conjunction with the World Bank, memories of and references to past reforms arose. Naturally, the highly impactive and deeply controversial reform of 1968 became a reference point. The 1968 reform is sometimes referred to in local settings as “the Béneke reform,” after its architect, Minister of Education Walter Béneke. For many years the 1968 reform was one of the most talked about projects in the country. Throughout the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s, it was in public...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-28

President Lyndon Johnson had a lot of bad days in 1968, but by all accounts July 7 was a welcome exception. He was on an official visit to El Salvador, where he had traveled to meet the presidents of the five member states of the Central American Common Market. On the morning of July 7, Johnson, together with Lady Bird and their daughter Luci Nugent, stepped into the presidential limousine and took off to the countryside. It was a pleasant, sunny Sunday. Johnson and his entourage visited a church, a market, and two schools. The approach of his long, black Lincoln Continental awed the locals, and by all accounts the U.S. president was greeted with enthusiasm. At lunchtime the first family picnicked with the Central American presidents at Los Chorros, a picturesque national park with lush vegetation, natural pools, and scenic waterfalls. Johnson spoke glowingly to the staff of the U.S. Embassy about the “smiles on the faces of the old women and...

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1: A Fight Within the Right: Rivaling Visions of Modernization

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pp. 29-70

In 1961 the Cuban journalist Carlos Castañeda denounced the Sal- vadoran landed elites and their historic alliance with the military in El Popular, a new weekly magazine in El Salvador. “The economic and political life of El Salvador has always been controlled by powerful and influential families. Feudal lords, owners of all the riches in the country, they make and unmake presidents with the collaboration of ambitious military officers who for a few coins serve as their personal police.”1 Publishing a criticism like that in El Salvador in 1961 was uncommon, even dangerous, although not unprecedented. A statement like that might appear in a broadside handed out at a political demonstration, or in a fringe publication put out by the clandestine Communist Party, or perhaps in a journal produced by the University of El Salvador, which witnessed a rapid rise in student

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2: Modernizing Reform and Anticommunist Repression: The First PCN Administration, 1961–1967

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pp. 71-102

the modernizing vision introduced by the revolution of 1948 took on a new and more urgent dimension after the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. In June 1966, toward the end of his time in office, President Julio Rivera delivered a speech that encapsulated his strategy of rule during that important era in Salvadoran history—combining modernizing reform with social order and anticommunism.1 The occasion for the speech was the annual meeting of the Council of Central American Defense (Consejo de Defensa Centroamericano), a meeting of Central American governments to discuss regional security issues. The meeting happened to be in San Salvador that year, and Rivera delivered the inaugural address. He opened his speech with a standard anticommunist description of the threat posed by Soviet and Chinese communists. He insisted that the region’s armies were the first line of defense. “Personally, I am of the opinion,” he said...

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3: “A Monitor Instead of a Teacher”: The Origins of the 1968 Education Reform and How Television Became Its Centerpiece

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pp. 103-136

In October 1966 a boisterous General Assembly of the PCN nom-inated In 1973 an education researcher in El Salvador described a typical day in the life of a junior high school student. The student’s favorite time of the day was when the tallest kid in class stood up and turned on the TV monitor that was installed on a podium. The flickering, grayish light of the tube gave way to the grainy image of a teacher giving a lesson. The program was broadcast from a distant location in the country, but the student embraced it as something near and dear. “I like this class,” says the narrative of the fictional student, “I think the subject is interesting and I like the ‘telemaestro.’” One of the virtues of the televised class, according to the researcher, was the quality of the teleteacher, who explained things very clearly. The televised class was also entertaining: “The TV music really...

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4: “A Feverish Laboratory”: The Education Reform of 1968

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pp. 137-182

In October 1966 a boisterous General Assembly of the PCN nom-inated Col. Fidel Sánchez Hernández, Julio Rivera’s interior minister, as its candidate for president. There was little doubt that he would prevail in the March elections. That night a group of friends, well-wishers, and even a mariachi band crowded into the small living room of the Sánchez Hernández residence. In the midst of the revelry a reporter from El Diario de Hoy managed to grab a few minutes with the candidate. “I believe that education ought to be ahead of everything,” Sánchez Hernández said, claiming that education would be a priority during his administration. Then he turned to the issue of communism and made a firm promise to fight the “red danger.” Indeed, education and anticommunism dominated the next seven months of his campaign. After he won the...

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5: Modernization Projects and Authoritarian Practices in the 1970s

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pp. 183-226

In 1979 Wilbur Schramm, seventy-two years old and living in semiretirement in Hawaii, sat down to write a document for UNESCO. It was When the coffee-picking season ends in February, children in El Salvador go back to their books and begin another year of school. The 1969 school year opened with a bang. On February 13 Minister Béneke announced a “massive” school construction project.1 Later that week President Sánchez Hernández went to Ciudad Normal Alberto Masferrer to inaugurate, once again, a TVE initiative. This time he was announcing the regular transmission of classes to more than one thousand middle school students.2 “No one can overcome our determination, and no one will bend our resolve, to give El Salvador the educational system it needs,” he said at the inauguration.3 He...

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6: “The Most Thoroughly Studied Educational Technology Project in the World”

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pp. 227-252

a reflection on his pathbreaking book Mass Media and National Development. The finished product proved to be an extraordinary essay, poignant for its self-criticism. The title of the first section says it all: “The Passing of the Old Paradigm.” The first few sentences set the tone for the rest of the work: “I have just had the humbling experience of rereading a book I wrote 17 years ago.” He continued: “I should’ve been more skeptical about the applicability of the Western model of development. I should’ve paid more attention...

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Conclusion

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pp. 253-269

Early in 1980 Walter Béneke was again appointed ambassador to Japan. Almost twenty years had passed since he left Japan to become minister of education. He was looking forward to going back to the country that had inspired him to take up the cause of education reform and educational television. But he never made it there. On April 27, 1980, he arrived at his home on a tree-lined side street, half a block from the hotel favored by international journalists in San Salvador’s exclusive Escalón neighborhood. As he got out of his car to open the gate to his house, the car door still open, “a gunman hiding behind a nearby tree walked up to Béneke, opened fire with a submachine gun and fled in a waiting car,” wrote a United Press International (UPI) dispatch, citing a police report.1...

Notes

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pp. 271-312

Bibliography

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pp. 313-331

Index

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pp. 333-341

Further Reading, Back Cover

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