June 14, 2006
Chile's country-wide education protests are now over. The fallout from the three-week crucible that saw nearly 800,000 students take to Chile's streets (sometimes violently), however, will not be soon forgotten. The walkouts began innocently enough, with students asking the government to provide free bus passes and to waive university entrance exam fees. But protests grew angrier as high school students insisted that the government centralize school management and pour profits from the country's copper trade into education. The financial inequity between wealthy private schools and public schools has only worsened over the past decade, and those disparities provided ample fodder to keep the youthful anger stoked. Though non-student groups (unions, anti-government groups, etc.) certainly pushed up the level of violence, the students' voices ring loud and clear-they want better schooling and a better life. We wonder how many American students are as passionate about their own educations.
"How Chile's growth skipped its schools," by Jen Ross, Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2006
"Will Chile's President Flunk the Test?," by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2006 (subscription required)
"Chile students clash with police," BBC News, June 6, 2006
"Schools out," The Economist, June 1, 2006 (subscription required)