Do Community-Managed Schools Work?
An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program
This paper measures the effects of decentralizing educational responsibility to communities and schools on student outcomes. Using the example of El Salvador's Community-Managed Schools Program (or, EDUCO, from the Spanish acronym, Educacion con Participacion de la Comunidad), which was designed to expand rural education rapidly following a civil war, it compares student achievement on standardized tests and school attendance of rural students in EDUCO schools versus those who are in traditional schools. It controls for student characteristics and selection bias, using an exogenously-determined formula for targeting EDUCO schools as an instrumental variable.
This paper finds that the rapid expansion of rural schools through EDUCO (a) has not adversely affected student achievement; and (b) has diminished student absences due to teacher-absences, which may have longer-term effects on achievement.