Conventional wisdom suggests that Latin American countries reformed public education in the 1990s in response to a crisis of coverage and quality. Yet, in terms of access, Latin American countries had achieved relatively high enrolment and completion rates by 1990. With regards to quality, there was simply no high-quality evidence showing weak or lowering standards. In short, by the early 1990s, there was very little scientific evidence of a crisis of public education in Latin America. By uncovering these patterns, this paper argues that political scientist should revisit the origins of education reform efforts in the 1990s.