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It also became apparent that sometimes principals would pander to the interest groups represented on the councils and in many instances would attempt to control the bodies. In one case the principal was reportedly paying council members from his own pocket in order to ensure continued employment. Council members used their positions to ensure Board of Education employment for themselves, relatives, and employees. The union also opposed the reform, and there were two bitter strikes. Student achievement did not improve between 1989 and 1995.

Nevertheless, the federal government remains responsible for most important functions of the education system, such as the planning of basic education, the choice of textbooks, assessment, and teacher training (Mexico 1992:9). Source: Mexico 1992 (p. 9). Page 12 2 Legislation for Decentralization Once the objectives of the decentralization program are established and the context in which it will take place is known, the legal instruments that will be used must be defined. These will vary from country to country, depending on the existing legal and regulatory frameworks.

Examples of local responsibility for schools abound. In Chile in 1980 the Decentralization Act transferred responsibility for school premises from the Ministry of Education to the municipalities (Bullock and Thomas 1996). In Zimbabwe church authorities or district councils own most schools (Bullock and Thomas 1996). Unless care is taken to specify the respective roles of the various bodies involved, the lines of responsibilities may become blurred. In France, for example, schools are established as autonomous local bodies, but these bodies are headed by a principal appointed by the central government who must rely on funds provided by the local authorities to maintain the schools.

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