When President Lula came into office in January 2003, he inherited a government that had made progress in confronting Brazil’s social inequalities. During the 1990s, the Cardoso administration together with state and local governments, focused on improving Brazil’s abysmal record in education. For example, in 1990, adults over age 15 had on average only 4 years of schooling (World Bank 2007). Under Cardoso, the federal government made sweeping changes in the public education system. At the same time, mayors and governors enacted innovative conditional cash transfer programs that paid poor children to attend school. These programs evolved into the federal Bolsa Escola program by 2001. During Cardoso’s tenure, school attendance increased, grade repetition rates fell, and teacher quality was improved. By 2002, almost all Brazilian children aged 7 to 14 were attending school. But Lula faced a difficult challenge because the relatively easy task of increasing children’s school attendance had been achieved. What remained were the more difficult tasks of increasing the years of schooling completed, and raising levels of student learning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBrazil Under Lula
Subtitle of host publicationEconomy, Politics, and Society under the Worker-President
EditorsJoseph L Love, Werner Baer
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780230618374
ISBN (Print)9780230608160
StatePublished - Jan 5 2009


  • Early Childhood Education
  • Achievement Test Score
  • School Quality
  • Eighth Grade
  • School Attendance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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