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Abstract: When Paulo Renato de Souza accepts an appointment to become Brazil's minister of education, he faces extreme challenges. Public education in Latin America's most populous nation is widely viewed as a failure. Brazil's vast population of poor children often attends schools that are both physically inadequate and have inadequate textbooks. His own department has seen a parade of ineffective leaders and has only indirect authority of state governments responsible for primary education.
Learning Objective: This leadership case describes de Souza's early choices in his bid to improve schooling—including efforts to change the education financing mechanism through legislative action.