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Cadernos de História da Educação

versão On-line ISSN 1982-7806

Cad. Hist. Educ. vol.22  Uberlândia  2023  Epub 07-Ago-2023 


Between the prescribed and the real: local educational policy in the post-1946 Constitution era - a historical analysis in Vitória da Conquista/BA1

Ana Luiza Salgado Cunha1; lattes: 6780096540741535

1Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia (Brasil).

FERREIRA, Elenice Silva. Políticas Públicas de Educação Local no Âmbito do Federalismo Pós-Constituição de 1946. Curitiba: Appris, 2022.

There is a growing interest in approaches in the field of Brazilian Educational Policy history centered on local issues, in a reverse movement to the frequently emphasized analyses in a broad perspective, such as major educational reforms. This fact gives the work "Public Policies of Education in the Scope of Post-Constitution Federalism of 1946" a transgressive character, as it proposes a reverse movement by having as its study axis the public policies of education in the municipality of Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, during the period between 1945 and 1963, and the changes that occurred in local education during this highlighted time.

Recently, the book "Public Policies of Education in the Scope of Post-Constitution Federalism of 1946," authored by Elenice Silva Ferreira, was published in physical and e-book format by the Appris Publisher. The book is the fruit of a doctoral thesis2 defended at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, PUC/MG. It is part of the Education, Technologies, and Transdisciplinarity Collection, and it presents the public policies aimed at organizing education in the municipality of Vitória da Conquista, including some specific dimensions such as the creation of schools' projects and the organization of teaching, without hiding the strategies articulated by intellectuals and local leaders in favor of an educational structure that included the municipality of Vitória da Conquista among the developed municipalities. In this aspect, in the writing of this work, the author did not fail to recognize the municipality as a political-administrative entity with its own life, but articulated with political and educational actions at the state/national level, inherent to the federative State model (FERREIRA, 2019).

Divided into five chapters, harmoniously distributed throughout the work, the author presents her reflections based on an investigative work that analyzes the connection between education and development in the city of Vitória da Conquista and its direct relation to the political culture of treating the educational issue by the local government, especially through the actions of the City Council of the municipality.

Based on a dialectical conception of reality, the work starts with a general analysis of the Brazilian scenario in the context of "redemocratization" between 1945 and 1963, resulting from a process of wear and tear and the consequent end of the dictatorial government of Getúlio Vargas known as Estado Novo, discussing the implications of the reconquest of democracy for state and municipal policies, and then delving into local specificities. The invitation is clear: to look at school education from the municipal perspective, drawing a direct connection between the Federal Constitution of 1946 and the State Constitution of Bahia of 1947, opening up possibilities for an uncommon path: we will start in this work from the part, to fortuitously see the whole better.

Now, was it not precisely from the cities where what we now understand as Politics originated? The word politics derived from the Greek politikós, meaning that which belongs to the city, the polis, as it was called in ancient Greece, a space of common interest for human beings in the exercise of their citizenship (BOBBIO, et al., 1998). The work reinforces the importance of studying the past as a guiding perspective for the present and future, presenting historical analysis not as a rigid narrative but as an interpretive potency, delimiting the years between 1945 and 1963 as its central historical reality, a national and Bahian period, rich in political events of ruptures and continuities. In the introduction, it cites Paul Ricoeur (2007) to emphasize the importance of preserving local educational memory, especially by pointing out that memory is an incessant field of disputes.

In the first chapter, the author discusses the State in its concept and formation, expanding on the emergence of Federalism in Brazil and Public Policies in this context. In a dense and didactic analysis, she presents the forms of State intervention in society through the federalist model and public policies, with direct determinations in the reorganization of Brazilian education based on the Federal Constitution of 1946. Territorially with continental dimensions, Brazil became a federal country through the Constitution of 1891, a model through which power sharing and relative autonomy among entities - Union, States, and Municipalities - is assumed, via the principle of non-centralization of power and instead of autonomy, interdependence, and reciprocal cooperation. In political and administrative divisions, it is up to the municipality to have the smallest administrative divisions in the Republic, with some autonomy to operate and legislate (CURY, 2014). The municipality of Vitória da Conquista is the focus of the second chapter, which ranges from the origin of the concept of the municipality in Brazil to the specificities of Vitória da Conquista. It is dedicated to the formation of cities from a legal, political, and administrative perspective and points out the impacts of the New School Movement on local education in Vitória da Conquista.

The way institutionalized education began to take shape in Vitória da Conquista is the focus of chapter three, where the author covers the first primary schools and the first high school in the municipality. The study is part of an educational reality characterized by the local government's precariousness and evident incipiency as a structural movement for public education in the city, still highlighting the role of private education at the beginning of the 20th century.

Within this context, the author builds the fourth chapter, addressing public education policies in Vitória da Conquista between 1945 and 1963. This chapter presents the central argument of the work, where the social and political context established in the municipality is presented in the formulation of educational public policies. By dedicating herself to the study of municipal legislation of the time, the author comprehends the school organization and the educational policies that supported it.

The historical axis of the work is the Federal Constitution of 1946, which, despite its limitations, is considered the document that established Brazil's first democratic experience, following the overthrow of the Estado Novo regime and the deposition of Getúlio Vargas. In the Federal Constitution of 1946, primary education was presented as a right guaranteed to citizens, free and mandatory, and was the responsibility of the federated States and municipalities. In Bahia, this was reflected in 1947, when Anísio Teixeira, one of the protagonists in the elaboration of the Education and Culture chapter in the Constitution of Bahia at the time, was the Secretary of Education and Health. The national Constitution gave greater educational responsibilities to the federated entities, although limited to the regulation of the Union, responsible for legislating on the guidelines and bases of national education, establishing a certain process of decentralization. In the Constitution of Bahia, with democratic and decentralization ideas for education, the organization of councils was determined, including Municipal Councils, autonomous and administrative bodies of local education.

In the fifth chapter, the focus is on the public resources allocated to municipal education, presenting the dilemmas of local education financing, the relationship between the State/Municipality in maintaining primary, secondary, and normal education, and the relationship between the public and private sectors. As a field of permanent disputes, the entire context of educational policies was directly impacted by the larger political structure, implying federalism in a much broader movement than the much-touted decentralization.

In the form of conclusions, the analysis is committed to the relationship between education and local development woven throughout the work. The author points out: it is impossible to discuss the local bias without a national foundation in a country that has federalism as a governing principle, a system that has not yet been instituted in Brazil, a barrier that deepens social, legal, and political inequalities, far from the proposal of federative equality.

As an autonomous political-administrative entity, the municipality is presented in the work as a directly linked articulator to the political and educational actions of the states and the Union, based on the current model of the Federal State. Bahian education is treated with ample primary source documentation and period commentators, and the rigor of the analytical method and the robustness of the theoretical reflections are evident. Due to the consistency of the analyses and the ways of treating the sources, it is evident that the book brings together important characteristics of relevance to the scenario of studies and research in Education, History of Education, and in the direct relationship between State, Politics, and Education. It thus provides an interesting and instructive panorama of the historiographic exercise that is defined more by the perspective of studies that emphasize the importance of local analyses regarding the operationalization of educational public policies. For the field of History of Education, the work with a global-local-global approach has the potential to reveal aspects of the operationalization of Brazilian educational policies at the municipal level.


ARENDT, Hanna. O que é Política? Fragmentos das obras póstumas. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 1998 [ Links ]

BOBBIO, Norberto. et al. Dicionário de política. Brasília: Editora Universidade de Brasília, 1998. [ Links ]

CURY, Carlos Roberto Jamil. Educação e direito à educação no Brasil. Belo Horizonte: Mazza, 2014. [ Links ]

FERREIRA, Elenice Silva. Memória e educação: as políticas públicas de educação do município de Vitória da Conquista-Bahia, no período entre 1945 e 1963. Tese (Doutorado) - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Educação. Belo Horizonte, 2019. [ Links ]

FERREIRA, Elenice Silva. Políticas Públicas de Educação Local no Âmbito do Federalismo Pós-Constituição de 1946. - 1.ed. - Curitiba: Appris. 2022. [ Links ]

RICOEUR, Paul. A memória, a história e o esquecimento. Campinas: Unicamp, 2007. [ Links ]

1English version by Josué de Andrade Calixto. E-mail:

2Thesis entitled "Memory and Education: public education policies in the municipality of Vitória da Conquista - Bahia, from 1945 to 1963", defended in Belo Horizonte on August 29, 2019, by Elenice Silva Ferreira, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Carlos Roberto Jamil Cury.

Received: March 16, 2023; Accepted: April 05, 2023

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