Public education in Brazil is shameful: insufficient infrastructure, scarce food and books, undemanding curriculum. The government (as well as many citizens) prefers to blame the students’ disadvantaged socioeconomic background as the main cause for poor academic performance, ignoring the far more worrisome state of public schools.
Students are not the problem, and the government does its best to avoid addressing the education system’s issues directly, taking initiatives such as loosening requirements to help students pass to the next grade, and providing quotas for college admissions.
Isadora Faber, a thirteen-year-old from Florianopolis, Brazil, is trying to make a difference. She created a Facebook page called Diario de Classe: A Verdade (Class Diary: The Truth), where she posts pictures and writes about her school’s issues, such as broken windows, unhealthy foods, unprepared teachers, and even missing ceilings. She has more than 600K followers on Facebook, who frequently engage with her posts.
As a result of her initiative, many of the issues she complained about were fixed at her school. However, it wasn’t easy: Isadora suffered opposition from students and teachers alike at school, being bullied for speaking up. Some students went as far as to stone her house, hitting her grandmother. But Isadora firmly continues to expose serious issues with the public education system, and has recently started a non-profit organization to help other public schools.
A system often fails its people. The Brazilian education system has been long inefficient and in need of repair, but few citizens have taken the initiative to make a difference, and instead wait for a corrupt government to act of its own volition. Isadora is a role model for those who want and need to speak up to create change.
Brazil’s education system is in deplorable condition, especially when compared to the American system. But students who attend better schools should still find inspiration in Isadora’s initiative, and take advantage of their starting point. Isadora spreads the idea that a system can always improve and serve its people better. Other students, whether in a better or worse position than Isadora, should follow her example to demand greater quality of education, such as better curriculums, more fair teacher compensation, or more extracurricular opportunities.