Taking sides: The effects of supply and demand driven policies on parent decision making and education investment in Brazil
With near universal primary enrollment levels achieved in Brazil, the focus of education reform has shifted from purely access issues to increased attention on improving learning outcomes for all children. Yet the term "universal" confuses issues of access and quality. Although most of Brazil's children have access to primary school, an important question is: access to what? Many children receive teaching of low quality, based on an outmoded curriculum, in what could only be called a façade of a school. Enormous disparities in the distribution of educational resources and opportunities lead to gaps in attainment, particularly between income groups. While 96 percent of 7-14 year olds enroll in grades 1-8, less than two-thirds finish the primary cycle and only about a third continue on to upper secondary school.