Reform in the Mexican education system accords with global patterns of liberalisation, decentralisation, compensatory programs and accountability. The present study analyses reform in that country during the past 15 years. It reveals that despite expectations of change attending the installation of the new government which replaced the ruling party dominant for 70 years, there has been far more continuity than change in educational politics. It also shows that these have been constrained by the militant and powerful National Teachers’ Union. Although the new government has achieved some progress in equity and management, the quality of education can be seen to remain inferior.