Thursday, June 23, 2005

Preliminary observations

So far I´ve waded through one box relating to principles and proposed policies relating to the PT´s experience of state government in Rio Grande do Sul. Already I´ve noticed some themes which distinguish it from the concurrent PSDB administration in Ceara in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Whereas the Ceara PSDB didn´t criticise FUNDEF (a rejigging of the funding formula for primary education), the PT set itself against. Both states pressed for universal primary education and increases in secondary education - but Ceara had a greater distance to make up compared to Rio Grande do Sul.

It´s also noticeable that the same idea can mean different things to the two: both states introduced elections for school principals, but the PSDB favoured a training and selection course for aspiring candidates while the PT rejected those, claiming it limited democracy to the ´pre-selected´. Furthermore, the PSDB pressed on with the process of municipalisation of schools, which the PT claimed was ´neo-liberal´, constituting a withdrawal of the state from this arena.

Both states have institutions which enable the state to reach into the municipal school environment: Ceara reconstituted them under the new acronym, CREDES, while the PT made do with the existing Delegacias de Educaçao. Both parties sought to make them less bureaucratic, but whereas the PSDB-run education ministry saw its role as co-ordinating the work of different municipalities and schools, the PT saw the institutions as ways of contributing towards developments in pedagogy.

There´s also a marked difference in official material relating to performance. The PT´s material focuses on the role of getting greater democracy in schools and involcing all sectors including - explicitly - ´social movements´ (as opposed to just the ´school community´ or ´civil society´) while the Ceara material points to actual examination results - which show that while primary school access rose, quality measured by results fell. So far I haven´t found anything equivalent in terms of statistics for the PT in Rio Grande do Sul.

That´s my next project.

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