This paper argues that the institutional dynamics of Brazilian federalism is favorable to the construction of a National Education System, not necessarily under the Federal Government's centralized control. After a few remarks on the conceptual nature of the distinction between federalism and federation, it advocates that the original model of U.S. federalism was an institutional arrangement specifically aimed at allowing the construction of a national state. It then shows that federalism was used by the Brazilian national political elites as an arrangement to favor the emergence of National States based on oligarchic regional elites. Finally, it discusses the new direction federalism is currently taking in Brazil as for the construction of public policies in Brazil.
Federalism; Intergovernmental relations; Public policies; Educational policies