One of the things that I really love about Chile is the willingness of the people to protest for what they believe is right. Too often they don’t get what they want and deserve– but at least they are out there. The above picture was taken by someone else of the mas protests that are currently going on in Chile about education. Students, teachers and others all over the country have taken to the streets. According to Wikipedia, the main issues are:
Students demand the end of the school voucher system in pre-school, primary and secondary levels and the end of the current public university financing policy, that mixes deliberate underfinancing, a shadow toll called “Indirect State Payment” (Aporte Fiscal Indirecto, in Spanish), high parents’ payments even in public universities (tuition fees in private and state universities are about the same), and a state-guaranteed loan scheme that allow private banks to finance already high tuition fees. The Chilean system, although defended by researchers linked to the Heritage Foundation, is criticized by researchers like Martin Carnoy, blaming on it the tremendous inequalities across all the Chilean educational system, measured by OECD’s standards. Chile only spends 4.4% of GDP on education, compared to the 7% of GDP recommended by the UN for developed nations.
The students want those systems replaced by a true publicly financed and managed education system, covering from pre-school to tertiary education.
Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, my senator sent me an email outlining the budget cuts for students.
Cuts Per Pupil1
Cuts Per Pupil
Cuts Per District
I wish we were out protesting here too!