‘Philanthropizing’ consent: how a private foundation pushed through national learning standards in Brazil

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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

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Última Atualiz.: 09-01-2019 9:15

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This article explores how the Base Nacional Comum Curricular
(National Learning Standards), entered the policy debate in Brazil
and became the most important reform initiative of the Ministry of
Education between 2015 and 2017. We argue that this accelerated
policy process was contingent upon the practice of philanthropizing
consent: foundations’ use of material resources, knowledge
production, media power, and informal and formal networks to
garner the consent of multiple social and institutional actors to
support a public policy. In other words, these foundations do not
impose policies on governments; rather, they ‘render technical’
high-stakes political debates on pressing issues of educational
equity and then influence state officials’ consensus about which
policies to adopt. We argue that this philanthropic influence is not
simply a neoliberal, profit-maximizing scheme; rather, it is an
attempt by foundation and corporate leaders to garner power
and influence on different scales, and re-make public education
in their own image. Although this educational policy game is in
many ways participatory and widely accepted, foundations are
only able to play this role due to their tremendous economic
power, a direct product of the unequal global political economy,
and the systematic defunding of the public sphere.

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