The gap between the educational achievements of the comparatively wealthy and those living in poverty is widening world-wide, with the associated threat to social cohesion. Twenty-five years of curriculum reform has largely failed in its objective of providing quality, basic education for all. Arguing that successful innovation requires the participation of willing teachers, and associating this idea with the claim that schools are important for social cohesion, this study surveyed 500 Jordanian elementary teachers about their involvement in a programme of curriculum change and their desire to participate. Twelve key informants were interviewed. The reform has raised the qualifications of teachers and increased male teacher numbers but has neither raised overall standards nor improved truancy rates. Tight central control has failed to engage teachers' allegiance to the changes. Officials blamed failures on schools; head teachers blamed parents, and teachers criticized a policy that left them mediating a curriculum that lacked relevance and failed to engage pupils.