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Educational Initiatives and Mobilization for Primary Schools in São Paulo, 1830-1889

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  • Renato P. Colistete

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Abstract

One of the most common explanations for the historical deficiencies of public primary education in Brazil has been the alleged indifference of families that lacked the resources to send their children to private schools. This article addresses this issue in a period, comprising most of the Empire, when the conditions for access to primary schools were especially unfavorable. Poverty, isolation, illiteracy, political centralization and bureaucracy inhibited local initiatives and created few incentives, if any, for families to get involved in primary schools. The article shows, however, that parents and residents organized themselves across the province of São Paulo and submitted petitions to their local representatives and the provincial assembly requiring the installation of schools, since the first decades of the Empire. Town councils and, in the 1880s, education councils strengthened local demand for primary education. Under particularly adverse conditions, the evidence of mobilization for public schools gains a special significance and raises doubts about the views that, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, rejected the viability of local self-government due to the alleged inability of the "people" to intervene in the public sphere consistently.

Suggested Citation

  • Renato P. Colistete, 2017. "Educational Initiatives and Mobilization for Primary Schools in São Paulo, 1830-1889," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_04, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
  • Handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2017wpecon04
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    File URL: http://www.repec.eae.fea.usp.br/documentos/RenatoColistete_04WP.pdf
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    Keywords

    Primary education; municipalities; S�o Paulo;

    JEL classification:

    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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