Research Project Blog Post

Education is extremely important to me as a future teacher; it creates opportunities but can also be easily manipulated to ruin lives. Educational policy plays a large role in national identity, culture, and society. Betsy DeVos is currently enacting her school choice initiative, saying that a person’s zip code should not determine their education. While that opens discussion over national issues like lower-income areas and the lack of education there, she is also continuing to favor elite families whose children are able to change schools and ignoring impoverished families whose children are less likely to be able to be accepted into and move to different schools, an obvious divide in U.S. national identity. Education also plays into the U.S.’s history: education determined who was a citizen and therefore who could vote and run in elections; slaves were not allowed to be educated for fear that they would realize their rights and revolt, and educated slaves often wrote novels depicting their lives, hoping to appeal to white abolitionists and the greater United States’ population. Therefore, my question is this: when have people earned the right to be educated, how are they educated, and how does this play into the culture and society of Brazil?

My research will then delve into two sections: history and culture. My history section will deal with Brazil only. Here, I am to research what education was like when the recognized country—before the Empire—began to form. In class, we have used the Constitution to look at race relations. I would like to use a full translation of the Constitution to look at laws and amendments to learn who had the vote and who could run as a candidate and if education had a role in those persons’ lives. I would again like to use this to learn who was a citizen.

My cultural aspect of research will investigate how the people of Brazil understand their own education. For this, I would like to do a comparative analysis. In the U.S., there is a competitiveness to our education: the government becomes outraged when what we believe to be a “lesser” country does better than us in testing. I think that learning how the government of Brazil and Brazilian citizens perceive education compared to other nations will allude to their feeling of national pride and identity. Education is a huge divide amongst class systems in the United States. Comparing this to Brazil will show how education can help or harm this system and show that this issue is not just the U.S.’s, but the world’s.

For primary sources, I intend to use famous educational leaders’ work—like Paulo Freire—to see how they have affected education in Brazil. Again, I will use the Brazilian Constitution to glean information about citizenship and voting rights. This will help my historical analysis of Brazilian educational policy. I will also use information from the Ministry of Education’s website and webpages of several educational groups in Brazil; for example, the Science without Borders program. For secondary sources, I intend to use analyses of Brazilian educational programs, like those done by Javier Luque, David Evans, and Barbara Bruns. Utopian Pedagogies and Cold War Politics of Literacy will also enlighten readers about how policies of the past have worked. These will help my cultural comparisons in the second element of the project.


Utopian Pedagogy, edited by Richard J. F. Day, Mark Coté, Greig de Peuter

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy by Paulo Freire

The Science Without Borders program:

A Decade of Research on School Principals:

Ministry of Education:

Achieving World Class Education in Brazil: