In light of Governor Jindal’s proposal to vastly expand Louisiana’s school voucher system it might be useful to consider the track record of similar programs elsewhere. To that effect, Chile’s experience might be informative. Starting in the 1980s that country implemented the world’s farthest reaching neoliberal reform of education. The Pinochet regime intended to revolutionize vast spheres of Chilean society by replacing professional and bureaucratic organization with market forces. In a nutshell, the logic behind educational choice was that the freedom of voucher-bearing parents to select schools would create competitive forces, generating incentives for schools to improve their performance, reduce their costs, and introduce greater innovation. Did it work?
While the evidence is complex, analysts suggest that “The Chilean reforms of the 1980s were not practicable, did not turn education upside down, and did not dramatically improve school performance” (Gauri 1998, 103). The reforms did not reduce inequalities in education: most poor children attend public schools, which have lower performance than private schools and are more poorly funded, due to their inability to charge tuition or surcharges, both of which are open to their private counterparts (Levin 2011, 74; Economist 2011). The reforms did not improve performance either. While standardized scores have improved in Chile over time, it is more likely to have been as a result of improvement efforts spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, not market forces. Scores are better in Chile than they are in other Latin American countries, but they are well below the OECD average and show high variability relative to student background. In fact, what vouchers do seem to have accomplished is a redistribution of pupils with better-educated parents from public to private schools. And while private subsidized schools seem to have lower costs than the public schools, this may be due to their free riding on the public education system—by not taking special needs students, and by hiring teachers already employed in nearby public schools as part-time faculty (Carnoy 1998). The prolonged student protests that have paralyzed the country in past months are testament to a widespread discontent with the educational system.
While it is clear that there are many institutional and even cultural differences between the education systems in the United States and Chile, these results should at the very least call for caution. As Gauri (1998) suggests, there are several lessons that can be drawn from this experience for a broader context. First, it is illusory to believe that markets will replace bureaucrats. To be sure, bureaucracies tend towards hypertrophy and can be paragons of inefficiency. But markets are also plagued by imperfections, like asymmetries of information, which allow parents that are better informed about school quality and performance, usually the more affluent, to reap greater rewards from the voucher system. Leveling the playing field by evaluating and disseminating educational achievement, and keeping schools financially accountable, requires increased regulation and state intervention. This points to an ironic paradox inherent in such market liberalizing reforms.
Second, markets are not immune to politics. If vouchers lead students away from existent public schools their remaining constituents—teachers, parents, staff, students, neighbors—will resist closures, creating political unrest and impeding cost reductions. Moreover, the complexity of educational reform is such that policies cannot be imposed by fiat. Not even the Pinochet regime could override longstanding traditions tied to the influence of teachers. There is no universal model that fits the needs of every community. Parents differ in their priorities and they are often willing to trade other aspects, like safety, convenience, day care, and instruction in religious or moral codes, for some degree of academic achievement or educational innovation (Gauri 1998, 105). Deliberation and consensus building are crucial for the success of educational policy.
While the Louisiana voucher expansion has been presented as a ticket for children to escape from failing public schools, the Chilean precedent warns against expecting this to emerge solely from market forces. Unfortunately, this expectation seems to be at the heart of the proposal given its broad eligibility requirements for students and its lax eligibility requirements for schools. Under the proposed rules students in more than 70% of Louisiana’s schools (55% of the public school students) would be eligible for vouchers (BGR 2012). At the same time, virtually all private schools meeting minimal requirements for operation could accept them. What is to prevent a student from entering a worse private school than the public one she is exiting? In the absence of regulations the assumption must be that the demand for quality education will draw parents to the best performing schools. Yet, this in turn assumes the existence of perfect information—available, intelligible, and unambiguous—which the new legislation makes no effort to impose. As the case of Chile exemplifies, an active administration is inevitable: to assure vouchers go only to those students who need them; to control that only highly qualified private schools can accept those students; to measure educational achievement in schools and to make the results widely available to parents; and to keep schools accountable for their educational and financial results over time.
The Chilean case, where tuition vouchers have been more extensively tried than anywhere, shows that private schools are not necessarily better than public ones, and that competition between public and private schools will not necessarily raise the quality of education or reduce its costs. “For those concerned with the quality and cost of education in the United States, the answers lie elsewhere” (Carnoy 1998).
BGR. Making Choice Right: Can Private School Vouchers Live Up to Their Promises? (March 2012).
Carnoy, Martin. “Do Vouchers Improve Education?” Dollars & Sense, no. 216 (1998): 24-27.
Gauri, Varun. School Choice in Chile: Two Decades of Educational Reform. Pitt Latin American Series. Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998.
Levin, Ben. “Chile, Latin America, and Inequality in Education.” Phi Delta Kappan 93, no. 2 (2011): 74-75.
“We Want the World; Education in Chile.” The Economist 400, no. 8746 (2011): 36.
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LATEST SITE UPDATES
- "Where the River Bends" Photographic Exhibit
- Tulane Undergraduate Conference on Latin America
- The Once and Future Brazilian Presidency: Social Policy and Electoral Alignments in the 2014 Election
- MARI Brown Bag Talk Series: Dr. Dora Sierra Carrillo "Plantas sagradas en el Códice Magliabechi: Iconografía y Simbolismo"
- The Barking Mouse: A Cuban Folktale on Learning Languages
- Film Screening: The Farm: Life inside Angola
- Stone Center Undergraduate Showcase/Open House
- JEWELS FROM THE EARTH
- A Reading by Jamaica Kincaid
- MARI Brown Bag: Maxime Lamoureux-St. Hilaire "An Architectural Approach to the Economic and Political Organization of Ancient Maya Regal Courts"
- Guantanamo: Evening Performance with Artspot Productions and the Graduates
- Guantanamo: Performance excerpts of Taken
- 2014 Summer Field Research Symposium
- "Citizens" Art Exhibit
- M.A.R.I Brown Bag: A Report on Excavations on the Summit of Mound D at the Mississippi Period Carson Site.
- When superstrate becomes substrate: Spanish grammar taking over Kaqchikel syntax
- The Politics of Spiritual Healing in the Anglo-Creole Caribbean: From Slavery to Independence
- An Evening With Two Francophone-Creolophone Authors
- Stone Center Alumni's Exchange Program Featured in New Wave
- Job Opening: Sr. Administrative Program Coordinator for CIPR
- Stone Center Awarded $1.85 Million in Grants- New Wave
- Stone Center Celebrates Day of the Dead with LPO, Mexican Consulate
- Eduardo Silva joins scientific board of the Center for Conflict and Cohesion Studies
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The Guantánamo Public Memory Project
The Guantánamo Public Memory Project seeks to build public awareness of the long history of the US naval station at Guantánamo, Bay, Cuba, and foster dialogue on the future of this place and the policies it shapes.
Steered from Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Project is being developed by a growing collaboration of universities, organizations, and individuals. It was first launched in 2009 from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Support for the Project has come from National Dialogue and Traveling exhibit partners, the Libra Foundation, the New York Council on the Humanities, and the Open Society Foundations.
National Dialogue & Traveling Exhibit
The Project's first traveling exhibit opened in New York City at NYU's Kimmel Center for University Life Windows Gallery on December 13, 2012 and is traveling to 17 sites across the country and internationally through at least 2015. The exhibit explores GTMO's history from US occupation in 1898 to today's debates and visions for its future. It was created through a unique collaboration among a growing number of universities from around the country by student curators, communities, and people with first-hand experience at GTMO, who raised difficult questions and addressed them from diverse perspectives. The exhibit is accompanied by public dialogues in each host community. Join the National Dialogue.
The Guantánamo Public Memory Project in New Orleans
SEPTEMBER 2 – NOVEMBER 26, 2014
Exhibit in New Orleans at Tulane University with special events on campus and at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center.
September 2 – October 30, 2014
Exhibit is free and open to the public from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- September 18
Guantánamo Post-9/11: Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Modern America
- October 16
Angola and Guantánamo: Art and Incarceration
- October 30
Guantánamo: Cuban and Haitian Refugee Stories
November 5 – November 26, 2014
- November 7
Performance Excerpts by Kesha McKey
- November 8
Evening Performance with ArtSpot Productions & The Graduates
- November 14
The Farm: Life Inside Angola Film Screening
- November 15
Central City Fest
Sponsored by Tulane University’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, African and African Diaspora Studies, The Murphy Institute, the Altman Program, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Center for Public Service, Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching, Newcomb College Institute, Honors Program, Department of History, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The University of New Orleans’ Latin American Studies Department, CubaNOLA Arts Collective, and the Jefferson Muslim Association.
For more information about the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, please visit gitmomemory.org. For more information about the main exhibit at Tulane University, please contact email@example.com.
For resources for K-12 teachers, click here.
"Citizens" Art Exhibit
The Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans is pleased to partner with the satellite program P.3+ of the biennial Prospect New Orleans to present an exhibition by Mexican Artist Tony Makhlouf entitled "Citizens." The exhibit will run from from November 6th to November 30th, 2014 at the Art Gallery of the Consulate- 901 Convention Center Blvd. Suite 118, New Orleans, LA 70130.
An opening reception will be held November 6th, 2014 at 6:00pm.
Tony Makhlouf is a Mexican artist with a long, and ongoing, artistic history, full of achievements and great national and international recognition. Tony also teaches production of printmaking workshops and Fine Arts at various universities in Morelos. He currently lives, teaches and works in Morelos, Mexico. "Citizens" is a compilation of Tony Makhlouf's artwork through several years.
For more information visit the Culture Blog of the Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans
The Barking Mouse: A Cuban Folktale on Learning Languages
The Pebbles Center at the Algiers Regional Public Library, and the Latin American Resource Center- at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies present “The Barking Mouse: Lessons from a Mouse Family in Speaking Other Languages; Hands-on story time with author, Antonio Sacre.” The event is for children ages 6-12, their families, and teachers.
Antonio Sacre will present his story, The Barking Mouse, which encourages bilingual education and tolerance of other peoples and cultures. In addition to the storytelling, puppet making, food, and other activities will also take place!
Antonio Sacre is the author of My Name is Cool, A Mango in the Hand, La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story, and The Barking Mouse. Sacre, born in Boston to a Cuban father and Irish-American mother, is an internationally touring bilingual storyteller, author, and solo performance artist, based in Los Angeles. Called "a charismatic, empathetic presence" by Chicago Tribune, his stories have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and on National Public Radio. His first picture book, The Barking Mouse, published by Albert Whitman and Company in 2003, was a winner of the 2004 International Reading Association Notable Books for a Global Society. His next two picture books, La Noche Buena, a Christmas Story, and A Mango in the Hand, a Story of Proverbs were published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. Both were chosen for inclusion in the prestigious California Readers Book Collections for School Libraries in 2011 and 2012.
Event will include food, storytelling, puppet making and more!
Free and open to the public.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT DWOLTERI@TULANE.EDU OR CALL 504-862-3143.
"Where the River Bends" Photographic Exhibit
The Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans is pleased to partner with the PhotoNOLA Festival 2014 presenting the photographic exhibition by artist Scott Dalton "Where The River Bends" from December 3rd to December 30th, 2014
Opening reception December 3rd, 2014 at 6:00pm
Scott Dalton is an editorial and corporate photographer living in Houston, Texas. He was based for 14 years throughout Latin America, mainly in Bogotá, Colombia, where he photographed the civil conflict and drug war before returning to his home state of Texas. He now photographs both editorial and corporate assignments while spending his free time working on long-term personal projects. Currently he is working along the troubled border region near Ciudad Juárez, Mexico as well as projects throughout the American South. His photography has appeared in the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Harper’s, Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post Magazine, Condé Nast Portfolio, Business Week, and The New Yorker, among other outlets. His documentary film, LA SIERRA, won numerous awards and has been broadcast by PBS, BBC, HBO Latino, and many other international broadcasters.
Congreso internacional de literatura y cultura centroamericanas (CILCA XXIII)
Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, y Purdue University Calumet tienen el gusto de invitar al CONGRESO DE LITERATURA y CULTURA CENTROAMERICANAS (CILCA XXIII) que se llevará a cabo en la ciudad de New Orleans, Louisiana, del 11 al 13 de marzo del 2015 en el campus de Tulane University y Loyola University New Orleans.
Desde el primer congreso realizado en Nicaragua 1993, CILCA se ha caracterizado por ser un espacio de intercambio intelectual y de amistad para académicas/os, escritoras/es y lectoras/es. El congreso se ha efectuado en todos los países centroamericanos y por primera vez en su historia, CILCA se realizará en los Estados Unidos. La ciudad escogida es Nueva Orleáns, puerta de entrada hacia el Caribe y los países de América Central. El intercambio cultural entre Nueva Orleáns y América Central ha sido intenso por muchísimos años, y la ciudad alberga una de las comunidades de origen hondureño más grandes de los Estados Unidos. Tulane University tiene estrechos lazos con la región a través del Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, y the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola University New Orleans se ha distinguido por el trabajo con las comunidades hispanas que realizan varias de sus unidades académicas, incluyendo the Law School y el Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
La organización de CILCA XXIII la realizan la Dra. Maureen Shea y el Dr. Uriel Quesada, expertos en literatura y cultura centroamericanas, con el apoyo del Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creador y promotor de CILCA.
Ud. puede ver La convocatoria aquí
Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, and Purdue University Calumet invite you to the Congress on Literature and Culture of Central America (CILCA XXIII) which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana March 11-13 2015 on the campuses of Tulane and Loyola New Orleans.
From the first conference, held in Nicaragua in 1993, CILCA has been a space for intellectual exchange and friendship for academics and writers. The conference has been held in all of the Central American countries and for the first time in its history will be held in the United States. New Orleans, the gateway to the Caribbean and Central America, has been chosen as the location. New Orleans and Central America have a longstanding cultural exchange and New Orleans has one of the largest Honduran communities in the United States. Tulane has long connections with the region through the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, and the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola New Orleans works closely with hispanic communities particularly through the Law school and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
CILCA XXIII is organized by Drs. Maureen Shea and Uriel Quesada, experts on the literature and culture of Central America, with the support of Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creator of CILCA.
The Call for Papers is available here
Registration prices are listed below:
Early Registration (BEFORE January 15, 2015):
- $150.00 U.S. academics
- $125.00 U.S. Latin American academics traveling from Latin America; graduate students in the U.S.
- $100.00 Latin American graduate students traveling from Latin America
Late registration (AFTER January 15, 2015):
- $165.00 U.S. academics
- $140.00 Latin American academics traveling from Latin America; graduate students in the U.S.
- $115.00 Latin American graduate students traveling from Latin America
2015 Maya Symposium Teacher Workshop
The Stone Center for Latin American Studies, in collaboration with the Middle American Research Institute will present a teacher workshop in conjunction with the 12th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium, “Royal Chambers Unsealed: Tombs of the Classic Maya.”
The workshop, for K-12 educators, will include basic information on the ancient Maya, discussions of how to integrate information about the Maya into the classroom, and information on ancient Maya funerary practices, the theme of the workshop.
More details on the workshop schedule will follow shortly.
To register for the workshop, please visit the symposium page