Research on Community-Based Schools in Central America

Amherst College Professors Corrales and Rivkin Receive Ford and Tinker Foundation Grants

Submitted by Holly R. Saltrelli. Last edited on Tue, 2007-10-16 10:21.

October 15, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—Javier Corrales, associate professor of political science at Amherst College, and Steven G. Rivkin, professor of economics, have received a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and a $35,000 grant from the Tinker Foundation to support a multi-year study of community-managed schools in Central America. Corrales and Rivkin will study what has been a 10-year experiment of state-supported, parent-run public schools in rural areas of Honduras and Guatemala.

With the support of Daniel Altschuler ’04, Corrales and Rivkin have created a survey to quantify the effects this program has both on teachers and parents. “What we want to know,” said Corrales, “is can this work and how does it affect the parents…Does this get parents to be more civic, more involved in their communities?” The grant money will support a team of professionals as they collect data from these rural communities this fall.

Begun more than 10 years ago in Nicaragua and El Salvador as an experiment in governance and education with initial funding from the World Bank, community-managed school programs have since been implemented in Honduras and Guatemala. Corrales selected Honduras and Guatemala because in these countries, the programs are in more rural communities where very few social institutions—such a public schools or post offices—have been put in place until now.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental grant-making organization that has, for 70 years, committed funding to innovative people and institutions worldwide. The Tinker Foundation is also an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that has for nearly 50 years provided both field and research grants in support of projects in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and most recently Antarctica.

Founded in 1821, Amherst is widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, enrolling more than 1,600 undergraduates from every state and nearly 40 other countries.