Chile has always been among the educational leaders of South America since its public schools and universities rank among the finest. However, a recent study by the University of Chile reveals extensive segregation between wealthy and poor students at all levels of the Chilean educational structure. “You would assume that school is a place for integration,” commented researcher, Pablo Valenzuela. “But in reality, our schools are even more segregated, rich from poor, than the neighborhoods we live in.” The study confirmed the higher the level of econonomic segregation, the less opportunity poorer children have to rise from poverty.
Valenzuela traces the current economic segregation back to decisions in the 1990s when the idea arose of government subsidies to private schools. As a result of that decision, he says, “students are divided between schools according to their ability to pay. The poorest schols have the highest dropout rates, lowest parental involvement and least qualified teachers.”
The study by the University of Chile merely confirms that money, or lack of, determines education more than any other single factor.