International Review of Education

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 91–108 | Cite as

Flaying Freire? The Workers’ Party and education policy in Brazil, 1980–2007

Article

Abstract

This article analyses the progression of education policy by the Workers’ Party (PT) in Brazil from its experience of municipal administration to national government. The first section presents this development, noting its progression from a participatory, social(ist) project to a more reformist, elite-directed model. The second section accounts for the domestic influences that led to a more reformist PT education policy by the 2000s. These include: (1) increasing electoral success, (2) changing membership composition, (3) policy innovations supported by its members and (4) a growing asymmetry in resources (and influence) towards the party leadership and its members. The third section presents the global changes in education thinking that coincided with the PT’s entry into national government. It distinguishes between a neo-liberal and neo-conservative “first generation” and a state-oriented “second generation” Washington Consensus, associated with the New Right and the centre-left that emerged across the region after 2000 respectively.

Keywords

Workers’ Party/Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) Education in Brazil Radicalism Reformism Municipal education policy National education policy Washington Consensus 

Resumé

Fustiger Freire ? Parti des Travailleurs et politique éducative au Brésil, 1980–2007 – L’auteur analyse la promotion des politiques éducatives par le Parti des Travailleurs (PT) brésilien, au cours de son expérience depuis l’administration municipale jusqu’au gouvernement national. La première section trace un historique du parti, relevant son passage de projet social(iste) participatif vers un modèle plus réformiste tourné vers l’élite. La seconde section explique les influences intérieures qui ont favorisé une politique éducative plus réformiste du PT au cours des années 2000, à savoir : (1) un succès électoral croissant, (2) une évolution dans la composition des adhérents, (3) des innovations stratégiques soutenues par les membres, et (4) une asymétrie croissante des ressources (et de l’influence) au bénéfice de la direction du parti et de ses membres. La troisième section présente l’évolution mondiale de la conception de l’éducation, qui a coïncidé avec l’entrée du PT au gouvernement national. Il distingue entre une « première génération » néo-libérale et néo-conservatrice, et une « seconde génération » étatiste adepte du consensus de Washington, associée à la nouvelle droite et au centre-gauche apparus dans la région après 2000.

Zusammenfassung

Prügel für Freire? Arbeiterpartei und Bildungspolitik in Brasilien, 1980–2007 – In diesem Artikel wird analysiert, wie sich die Bildungspolitik der brasilianischen Arbeiterpartei (PT), von deren ersten Erfahrungen in der Kommunalverwaltung bis hinauf zur Staatsregierung, gewandelt hat. Im ersten Abschnitt wird diese Entwicklung dargestellt und der Wandel von einem partizipatorischen, sozial(istisch)en Projekt zu einem eher reformerischen, elitären Modell konstatiert. Im zweiten Abschnitt geht es um die heimischen Einflüsse, die Anfang dieses Jahrhunderts zu einer stärker reformorientierten Bildungspolitik der PT geführt haben. Dazu gehören unter anderem: (1) wachsender Wahlerfolg, (2) eine sich verändernde Mitgliederstruktur, (3) politische Neuerungen, die von den Mitgliedern unterstützt wurden, und (4) eine sich verstärkende Asymmetrie der Ressourcen (und des Einflusses) zugunsten der Parteiführung und der Parteimitglieder. Im dritten Abschnitt wird dargestellt, inwiefern sich die weltweiten Denkströmungen zum Thema Bildung in der Zeit der Regierungsbeteiligung der PT gewandelt haben. Es wird unterschieden zwischen einem neoliberalen und neokonservativen Washington-Konsens der „ersten Generation“ und einem staatlich orientierten der „zweiten Generation“, verknüpft mit der Neuen Rechten und der Mitte-Links-Strömung, die sich jeweils nach 2000 in der Region herausgebildet haben.

Resumen

¿Fustigando Freire? El Partido de los Trabajadores y la política educativa en Brasil, 1980–2007 – Este artículo analiza la progresión de la política educativa por el Partido de los Trabajadores (PT) en Brasil, desde su experiencia como administración municipal hasta su arribo al gobierno nacional. La primera parte presenta este desarrollo, notando su progresión desde un proyecto participativo y social(ista) hacia uno más reformista y con orientación elitista. La segunda parte da cuenta de las influencias nacionales que dieron lugar a una política educativa más reformista del PT ya en el siglo XXI, a saber: (1) un creciente éxito electoral; (2) una cambiante composición en cuanto a sus miembros, (3) innovaciones políticas apoyadas por sus miembros, y (4) una creciente asimetría en los recursos (e influencias) tendiente hacia la dirigencia del partido y sus integrantes. La tercera parte presenta los cambios globales en el enfoque de la educación, que coinciden con el ingreso del PT en el gobierno nacional. Hace una distinción entre un Consenso de Washington de “primera generación” neoliberal y neoconservador, y uno de “segunda generación” orientado al Estado y asociado con la nueva derecha y la centroizquierda que surgieron a lo largo y ancho de la región después del 2000.Open image in new window

References

Interviews conducted by the author

  1. Arelaro, Lisete. University of São Paulo (USP) professor in education policy and member of Paulo Freire’s education team in São Paulo city (1989–92). São Paulo, 5 Mar 2008.Google Scholar
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  8. Vieira, Juçara Dutra. CNTE (national teachers’ union) President. Porto Alegre, 23 Mar 2007.Google Scholar

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ideas Centre at the London School of EconomicsLondonUK

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