In Chile, the education system remains subject to some of the lingering legacies of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship – especially his pro-market reforms and privatization efforts. Since the Pinochet era, the Chilean government is investing less for education by shifting the costs directly to families and paying lower salaries to younger teachers in lieu of increasing taxes. As a result, there is a significant degree of school choice in Chile, with the theory arguing that that parents will choose better performing schools, and those schools will organize themselves to be better performers in order to attract students and gain pay premiums. According to Martin Carnoy and colleagues (2007), the thought is that “market mechanisms, and their ability to attract students and to increase test scores on national tests, will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the educational process” (p. 145). While educational attainment has not become worse as a result of market incentives, the same study by Carnoy and colleagues (2007) found that since 1980, the average achievement in schooling has remained stagnant.
Looking at the realities of Chilean education through a Marxian lens, schooling is a means of supporting the interests of the ruling class and legitimating the dominant ideology. According to Marx, industrial capitalism compels all nations and individuals to adopt the bourgeoisie mode of production (Marx & Engels, 1998). By continuing their pro-market reforms and keeping teachers overworked and underpaid, the Chilean government is delegitimizing the role of education and treating it as a commodity to be sold and bartered in a capitalist market. While the government is trying...
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...ess to schooling in these countries. In Time For School (2009), the filmmakers show a young boy named Jefferson who lives in Rocinha, Brazil – a slum controlled by drug lords and notorious for the violent shootings that kill many residents. This reality, compounded with the fact that Jefferson’s single mother works full time at a supermarket, makes it tremendously unsafe for Jefferson’s schooling progress. By increasing the safety and policing of local neighborhoods, poor urban cities could reduce the amount of violence and make it safer for children like Jefferson to attend school every day. Likewise, investing in education could give school leaders the capital needed to provide safer transportation to and from schools, and to facilitate after-school programs that give children a safe place to study and socialize, as is the case in numerous affluent neighborhoods.
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