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Resisting the Neoliberal Attack on Chile´s Public Schools and Teacher Unions Dr. Jill Pinkney Pastrana University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

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Presentation on theme: "Resisting the Neoliberal Attack on Chile´s Public Schools and Teacher Unions Dr. Jill Pinkney Pastrana University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire."— Presentation transcript:

1 Resisting the Neoliberal Attack on Chile´s Public Schools and Teacher Unions Dr. Jill Pinkney Pastrana University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

2 Changing visions of Education “The fundamental aim is to attend to the needs of the individual in the different stages of his life and to the communities in their struggle for development…’ ‘For us every society must be a school and school must become an integrated element of that big school which is society. Schools must be open to pressures important to the community.” President Salvador Allende, (Popular Unity Government ( )

3 Alternative Ideology “It is imperative that we change the Chilean’s mentality… the government of the Armed Forces intends to open a new phase in our national destiny, giving way to new generations of Chileans who have been shaped in a school of healthy civic habits.’ ‘The political recess can only be ended when a new generation of Chileans formed in accordance with nationalist ideals is able to assume the direction of public life.” General Pinochet, Military Junta ( )

4 Milton Friedman visits Chile March 25, 1975 Beginning work of the “Chicago Boys”

5 Characteristics of Neo-liberal Education Reform Changing Role of the State Standards and Testing Decentralization Leadership Funding Privatization Vouchers Move towards Public/Private Partnerships Competition Flexible Labor Curricula Refocused towards “market” and “measurable” standards.

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7 But… the logic of the Market Remains:

8 What were the results of Neo- liberal education reform in Chile? Privatization – “best business in town” - free market capitalism thriving as the best way to run schools, private interests subsidized Decentralization - Municipalization (“alcaldizacion”), “local control” Competition - part of the free market fiasco (60% of operating costs to advertising) Increased problems of equity and access Teaching Profession under siege Continued undermining of the public schools

9 Privatization “Beyond euphemisms, privatization of health, social security and education operated by neo-liberals has imposed a brutal rationale: depending on the amount of money you have, you will have so much health care, quality of education for your children and pension upon retirement. If you are privileged, you will have access to privileged services. If you are poor, you will have to make do with what the public system is able to give you.” Fernando De Laire. “El discurso del 21 de mayo y los debates emergentes” Revista Mensaje, July 2002

10 Fallout for Students and Communities Ideological shift to a Free Market Education of consumption Erosion of schools as community centers Deteriorated classroom conditions Decreased likelihood that schools will be occupied by diverse (in terms of class) populations Declining enrollments in municipal schools

11 End Municipalization - differentiate between ending the state system and centralized state control En la práctica, la aplicación de este modelo de municipalización y su perpetuación por los gobiernos de la Concertación significó el establecimiento de una “educación para pobres”. Una fabricación de mano de obra barata no calificada cuyo bajo costo jugará un rol funcional al proyecto capitalista neoclásico imperante. Todo esto bajo la bandera ideológica de la “libertad de enseñanza”. Conclusiones Generales Congreso Nacional de Dirigentes Secundarios 2007

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13 What lessons can we learn from the ongoing struggle for a democratic and equitable education from the Chilean experience?

14 Words of Wisdom “I think the neo-liberal policy makers did us a favor, now we know what definitely does not work in education.” (Iván Nuñez, June 1999)

15 Logic of the Market? What is the purpose of Education? Forming Democratic Citizens? Contributing to the full potential of our human condition? Creating Skilled Workers? Creating Good Consumers? Creating People who “know their place?”


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