Alternative for a Democratic Education in America

Social Network for Public Education in the Americas – SEPA Network
Democratic Initiative for Education in the Americas
Alternative for a Democratic Education in America
What is the Social Network for Public Education in the Americas?
What does the Social Network for Public Education in the Americas do?
II. Basic premises
III. Principles for a Democratic Education
IV. The Goals and Objectives
V. The Fundamental Contents
SAW. Administrative Direction of the School
VII. The School System
VIII. The conditions
IX. Teaching Profile
X. Looking for a Common Destination

The following proposal was prepared by José Ramos Bosmediano, then International Secretary of the Unitary Union of Education Workers of Peru, to present to the Hemispheric Conference IDEA (Democratic Initiative for Education in the Americas) in Quito, Ecuador in October 1,999. The conference, organized by the Social Network for Public Education in the Americas (Red SEPA), brought together more than 75 representatives of teachers, student, mothers and fathers, women, labor, community and indigenous organizations from 24 American countries to discuss common strategies to overcome the challenges facing public education in the western hemisphere.
The document was discussed and revised in the plenary of the IDEA Conference and was then subjected to further consultations and reviews in regional assemblies that brought together more than 100 organizations participating in the SEPA Network. The most recent version of the document “Alternative for Democratic Education in America” ​​was revised in September 2001.
The other documents of the IDEA Hemispheric Conference are available on the website of the SEPA Network

What is the Social Network for Public Education in the Americas?
Today, public education faces new challenges that are similar in different countries. In the Western Hemisphere, the process of building the Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas (FTAA) includes initiatives that are directly linked to education. The governments of the Americas are negotiating the FTAA through a series of meetings called the Summit of the Americas process.
The SEPA Network aims to link civil society organizations from the continent that share the concern to protect and improve public education; as an essential human right for democratic development. The Network works together with other civil society groups that are concerned about the impact of the FTAA process. These organizations include Education International (IE), the Confederation of American Educators (CEA), and the Continental Social Alliance.
What does the Social Network for Public Education in the Americas do?
The SEPA Network conducts research, develops communication networks and publications, and organizes conferences. The objective of our activities is to promote understanding of the impact of neoliberal policies on education in the Americas and to propose alternative ways to develop public, inclusive and democratic education.
The Network also serves to mobilize support for educators, students and others who are repressed in their countries for the activities they carry out in support of public and democratic education.

Alternative for a Democratic Education in America


In America there are two historical, economic and social realities. E.E. U.U. and Canada constitute a reality marked by what is called world development and leadership in human development indices, due to its location in the “First World” concert. Latin American and Caribbean countries are located at the pole of poverty, which he calls the euphemism of international organizations “emerging countries”.
The distinction is important when we intend to develop a common alternative education for America. To what extent will it be possible for the peoples and citizens of both realities to agree on a common project of educational reform? Would it not be an illusion or an unfeasible utopia to set a common goal for us in front of the immense gap between a world that has achieved undeniable technological-scientific advances and in the living standards of its respective population, and another that remains trapped in underdevelopment, the backwardness on all levels, the instability of their political processes and the subordination of their economies to decisions made at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? Why in the past, before the present decade, have we not outlined this common action strategy if the problems derived from the inequalities between both realities already existed?
Above all, the last question deserves a priority answer to understand the purpose that the Trinational in Defense of the Public School has outlined for some years. We are today facing the neoliberal strategy of capitalism and the globalization that unifies its economic, social and cultural policies. The compression of the negative results of the structural adjustments that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund impose on each of the Latin American and Caribbean countries grows.
In the field of education, there is no doubt that neoliberalism promotes and applies policies that reduce the progress made in educational democracy, while introducing ideological elements – such as individualism and pragmatism – contrary to the ideals of justice, of solidarity, equal rights and opportunities.
The Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, as part of the “Initiatives of the Americas”, deepen the application of neoliberal policies, greatly damaging the populations of developed countries, including the US. USA and Canada. The expansionist eagerness of the NAFTA FTA throughout America is not in doubt.
As explained in the IV Trinational Conference in Defense of the Public School (Querétaro, Mexico, 7-8 November 1998) the decisions of neoliberalism affect everywhere, limit the capacity of the states and hinder the work and achievements towards social justice.
Opposition to educational reforms promoted by neoliberalism is growing. But it is not enough to oppose only. Viable alternatives and strategies must be devised aimed at defending public schools and the right to education, while promoting the overcoming of the problems of public education in each of the countries of the Americas. The construction or elaboration of an Alternative for a Democratic Education in America will constitute a response to the deterioration of the educational systems by neoliberalism, but it must also mean a new education project. It cannot be a mere response to the current crisis, but a renovating projection towards the 21st century.
The Trinational joins, as a larger area, the national currents that challenge the neoliberal educational reforms and work for the development of new education projects for their countries. Almost all unions of workers in education are animated by the same concerns that the Trinational has.
A democratic educational alternative for America will take into account not only the common elements, but also the differences and pluralities existing in each country.

II. Basic premises

  1. The educational crisis cuts across America. In the last 20 years, this crisis has been addressed by neoliberalism with two fundamental criteria:
    a) a mercantile-business conception of education, under the rule of the free market and the individualistic and pragmatic training of children and youth;
    b) the criterion of tax savings that requires the extension of the private nature of education with the consequent destruction of the free and universal public school.
    From such criteria, curricular content and pedagogical methods are managed; teacher and administrative selection; the domain of vision is management and rentiers of the school.
    The educational crisis, being an indubitable reality, requires a response. Neoliberalism gives its own.
    Those of us who defend the public school and its democratic character have ours.
  2. However, in America there are four levels in the development of education:
    a) In the United States and Canada, the majority of students have access to a good quality and extensive education, both in the arts and sciences. Young people, for the most part, complete 12 years of elementary school and in Canada, most have some access to higher education.
    But within this apparent abundance, there are growing inequalities. In the United States, far more resources are invested in the education of the children of the upper and middle classes than in that of the poor and ethnic minorities. Education in Canada also suffers from its inequalities, even though they are less than those of the United States. Indigenous children in particular face more barriers to education than other children. Globalization and neoliberal political ties and trade agreements have brought cuts in public programs, including education, and have accelerated privatization in this field.
    b) Education in Latin America, with the exception of Cuba, is truly backward and with profound inequalities between social classes, between urban and rural education, between education for mestizos and for ethnic minorities; and with the application of neoliberal policies, it is producing the deepening of inequalities and the disintegration of certain positive values ​​that have been conquered; and an education where the divorce between school and life, between school and work, is more visible and alarming;
    c) In the English-speaking Caribbean, most countries have developed school systems based on the British public education model. These countries have achieved relatively high levels of academic and school enrollment, but in recent years these achievements are threatened by the introduction of the same structural adjustment measures that have plagued Latin American countries in the last two decades. Caribbean countries also face a serious dropout problem for adolescent boys.
    d) Cuban education, under the exclusive responsibility of the State, of an absolute public school, of free and full universality, linked to the project of society that is developed in that country.
    Despite the economic difficulties facing the Island, school enrollment remains almost universal and Cuban students demonstrate consistently high academic levels.
  3. In the processes of Latin American education there was no development of the postulates of the modern public school in the same dimension as that carried out in the educational systems of developed countries. Likewise, these societies are marked by economic-social elements inherited from the old colonialism, with the absence of democratic revolutions, with almost permanent features of authoritarianism and centralism, with deep social inequalities, their education is undemocratic and elitist; the scientific character is almost absent; coeducation works little; indigenous people are part of the most excluded sectors of the educational service.
    It is necessary to accurately detect the positive aspects and the limitations and deficiencies in each educational reality, in such a way that from a global project national projects are generated for each reality. We believe that every educational reform in each country must consider its own reality, based on it, which is always concrete, to transform it by developing its own values ​​and turning foreign elements or experiences into important contributions, not mandatory recipes.
    What has happened in our Latin American peoples, what is still happening, is that the applied educational reforms have not taken root in every reality. It has been foreign missions, abstract theories, models alien to ours, the factors that have hindered the unfolding of our potentialities. Just as in economics and politics, the ruling classes have lacked creativity and independence; in education they did nothing but imitate and conform to western hegemonic models.
    We are not unaware that in countries like Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, mainly, the modern public school has had a greater development than in the rest, explainable by the development that capitalism has had in those countries, on the one hand; and due to the composition of its majority population, with few ethnic conflicts, on the other hand. But in the countries indicated, neoliberalism is producing a serious setback in terms of the right to education, educational quality, a decent situation and, economically, budget cuts. What we observe today is that in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile the achievements of the past are about to disappear.
    In summary, our starting point is the existence of an educational crisis in America that requires a different response from that of neoliberalism. Of course, it is not about just giving an educational response. Beyond the educational and pedagogical, there is the economic fact and the political fact.

III. Principles for a Democratic Education

Education is guided by certain values. The aims, objectives and educational policies are based on the fundamental values, to which we nominate principles.

1. The principle of social transformation.

We require an educational system that promotes the change of society, which means forming attitudes in the awareness of children and youth towards the search for a new society, egalitarian and solidary; educate to overcome the current situation of social injustice, to a greater or lesser degree, in each of our countries.

2. Principle of justice.

A new educational system must be built that ensures equal opportunities for all, regardless of social, racial, religious or any other differences. This principle can be formulated as a principle of equality, even when the World Bank has coined the term “equity”, which does not clearly reflect the aspiration of our peoples for justice. The principle of justice is important to define and distinguish the democratic or undemocratic from your educational system; but also the quality of teaching. If there is no equal opportunity for all, there is no educational quality. What is quality for some would be exclusion for others. The quality is not only a problem of performance, but of justice, It has a historical content.

3. Principle of integrity.

It is a postulate that obliges us to guarantee the full formation of children and youth, the full development of all human potential, including, and with greater reason, those of those who are congenitally or accidentally disabled. The integral formation of the human being supposes to adequately combine the scientific-technological training with the scientific-humanistic, within a healthy development of polytechnic education. Neither pedagogical technocratism nor gaseous humanism constitute alternatives for the comprehensive education of children and young people.

4. Principle of scientificity.

Has several meanings. First, the feedback of the educational process due to scientific and technological advances; second, the formation of the critical and rational consciousness of man for the understanding and application of the laws of natural and social development; third, the elimination of all forms of fanaticism and dogmatism that nullify creative and imaginative capacities, and that lead to the cultivation of certain fundamentalisms that are dangerously expanding today in the world. In education in Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the most visible shortcomings of education and its lack of scientificity.

5. Principle of theoretical-practical unit.

It has to do with the application of the School of Work, the combination of study with life, research with productive practice, overcoming the empty theorism but also the practical limitation. Theorism is inherited from the past; Practicalism is postulated and practical of the pragmatism that the neoliberal current tries to universalize as part of its ideological globalization. The School of Work is directed towards the formation of integral “free producers”, not only in the sense of economic production of goods, but in the broad sense, which encompasses culture and human self-transformation itself. So it is a pedagogy linked to direct production. Methodologically it is active education.

6. Principle of continuity.

It refers to the current imperative of education “for life” permanent education for all. Especially in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, the continuity of the educational process, beyond the culmination of professional studies, and also directed at sectors that are behind in the regular training process, should be one of the most important concerns of the states and governments. Ecological education, physical education, health care education, among other topics, require effective treatment that fosters the formation of a common culture serving man and society.

7. Axiological principle.

Oriented to the promotion and development of superior and positive values: justice, equality, solidarity, freedom, democratic and patriotic values, honesty, truth …; unlike neoliberal axiology that makes individualism the highest value of its “modernity”, with profit, “success”, competition based on the effectiveness of the free market.

IV. The Goals and Objectives

From the aforementioned principles, it is possible to outline some goals and objectives that guide educational policies in each of our peoples. Of course we are not saying news. The novelty would be to put them into practice making all possible efforts.

1. The purposes:

a) full and comprehensive training, development of all critical and self-critical skills, cultivation of initiative and creativity;

b) the formation of the democratic and patriotic conscience, linked to the practice of social commitment with others, not only in the country where one lives, but also on the continental and world level.

c) the formation of a conscience focused on the construction of a just society;

d) promote the understanding, knowledge and application of scientific and technological advances for the benefit of peoples and countries, rescuing and developing the popular legacy;

e) the creation of equal educational opportunities for all;

f) training the student for life and work based on the full satisfaction of human and social needs, the cultivation of theoretical-practical experience, prioritizing the active in the educational process;

g) promote the cultivation of positive values.

2. The objectives:

a) forge the national conscience, of defense and affirmation of sovereignty on the basis of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the countries, of mutual respect;

b) forge the cultural identity within the framework of the pluriculturality of each country and the existing differences;

c) develop science and technology according to the development needs of each country;

d) promote the decentralized and self-sustaining integral development of each country within the framework of its national project;

e) promote the development of the cultural manifestations of the peoples, without neglecting or neglecting the cultural elements of others and of humanity;

f) promote, on the basis of national consciousness, the Americanist consciousness of integration without interference or practice of colonialism or neo-colonialism, strengthening the internationalist consciousness of mutual respect, common development, and lasting peace based on the construction of a world with social justice;

g) promote the preservation and defense of peoples’ natural resources, making rational use of them within a long-term sustainable development project.

V. The Fundamental Contents

In the education process, the values ​​that support an educational or pedagogical system become permanent themes, becoming material and cultural conditions for its development. There is a set of elements that contemporary pedagogy has been developing. Some come from the past; Others, such as human rights, are recent systematizations and increasingly decisive to qualify the relevance of an educational system. We will start with human rights.

1. Human rights.

Ultimately, we educate to promote a decent life for all the inhabitants of a country and of humanity. There is an enormous distance between national and international postulates that protect human rights and their fulfillment in social and economic policies, in the conduct of rulers and ruled. Different types of discrimination and permanent violations of human rights continue. To a greater or lesser degree, there is no country immune to such violations. Education for the respect of human rights means including them throughout the educational process, regardless of the general curriculum content.

2. Solidarity.

It is one of the most important values ​​for the exercise of collective effort in each of the social activities, in the field of science, study, work and production. Its permanent exercise in the educational process does not require further substantiation. But we must make a great effort to counter the neoliberal campaign in favor of individualism, which is the denial of solidarity. Democratic education rejects any discriminatory or segmentation trend. It considers, as the UNESCO report “Education Encloses a Treasure”, points out that education is a collective good.

3. Freedom.

In the realm of necessity that dominates for millions of human beings; in a world dominated by globalization based on economic, social and cultural inequalities; and when the manipulation of information perverts communication between human beings, the practice of freedom only remains aspirational. Much more so when neoliberalism confuses human freedom with that of the market, therefore with the freedom that some have to manage reality according to their particular interests. The school can promote awareness of freedom by promoting knowledge of reality and social problems.

4. Science-humanism-technology.

It is an inseparable spread for the integral education of man. The treatment of both elements as antagonistic produces unilateral men, with a partial vision of the world and of the man himself. It will be a great advance to concatenate both elements in the process of education.

5. Ecology and sustained development.

Development as a right of all is conceived as the need to care for the environment and promote long-term development without destroying the life chances of future generations; and these possibilities of future life have, in the force of nature, one of its fundamental sources. Education can – and should – counteract the unhealthy tendency, strengthened over many centuries, of depredation of the environment, of reduction of the scope of nature.

6. Interculturality and bilingualism.

Many of the regional wars that take place in Eastern Europe have, as one of their components, ethnic hatred: different customs and races, languages ​​and worldviews, religions and historical tradition, without due understanding between peoples. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the differences between national majorities and minorities are undeniable; but the educational processes are not yet adequately addressed. The movement for bilingual intercultural education must be entrenched and developed throughout the education process. In some countries where neoliberal educational reform is being applied, however, its dangerous reduction to mere compliance with formality in the interest of budgetary savings is noted; but behind this “budgetary” practice hides an ethnocentric conception in favor of the “western”, as if there were no other identities and cultures.

The indigenous education promoted today by the UN-UNESCO constitutes an important advance for the promotion of respect for minorities, when in Article 2, paragraph b) of the Convention no. 169 “On Indigenous Peoples and Labor” of 1989, the ILO indicates the promotion of “the full effectiveness of the social, economic and cultural rights of these peoples, respecting their social and cultural identity, their customs and traditions, and their institutions”. Article 28 establishes: “whenever it is variable, the children of the peoples concerned must be taught to read and write in their own indigenous language or in the language most continuously spoken in the group to which they belong.

7. Tolerance and respect for the differences.

It is more general than the practice of interculturality. Human beings are respected in terms of their ideas, their life options, as long as such options do not mean mistreatment of others or impairment of human dignity. Anyone who practices tolerance must also do it when it comes to interculturality.

8. Cultural identities.

Education in our towns must become a tool to build our own culture, thriving, in permanent assimilation and change. Educate so that national identities do not destroy particular identities, as legitimate as those.

9. Progress and social development.

It is not the modernity that neoliberalism promotes, consisting of promoting the freeing of all human freedoms by the free market as the “engine” of development. Progress as material and spiritual advance; and social development as promotion of human life, give the educational process the necessary horizon.

10. Patriotism and national sovereignty.

They are current civic content, both in the most developed countries and in those that are still on the way to building their nation.

Chauvinism and xenophobia must be prevented in the process of patriotic education. On the other hand, patriotism is more than just the defense of the territory. It advances towards national sovereignty as a defense of the right of each country to decide on its own destiny; to promote their own, autonomous and self-sustaining development; to defend their natural and human resources. The vast majority of American countries lack such taxes.

11. Democratic participation.

Faced with the centralism that prevails in the educational systems of our peoples, and that neoliberalism accentuates through its “decentralization”, we need to put into practice the democratic participation of our students and parents in the educational process, within the framework of general participation policies led by the organized population; and on the basis also of a national educational policy. Centralism can only be attacked and overcome with the practice of democratic participation, that is, of the ability to make decisions at each local or regional level, without promoting the disintegration of the national. The “decentralization” and “participation” that promotes neoliberalism in Mexico, Peru, Argentina, etc., are to transfer educational spending to the community.

VII. Administrative Direction of the School

The shaping of educational values ​​depend, to a large extent, on the form and content of school administration, its organization and exercise of administrative authority, on the internal and external relations that occur. At the bottom are the conception and methods of school administration, related to the educational administration that the state provides.

There is a traditional, authoritarian and empirical, routine and conservative form of school administration. It is a conception that has come to an end even though its practices are still being felt in almost all American countries.

In the face of the crisis of the educational system and, therefore, of its administrative conception, neoliberalism is imposing the business-managerial conception of school administration, in accordance with its commercial vision of education. For this conception, the school administration has little to do with the pedagogical, since the director-manager does not need to be a pedagogue. Even the classroom teacher becomes a technical facilitator of learning, skilled in applying methodologies for “active teaching”. The school administration that advocates neoliberalism seeks to turn the educational center into a self-financed entity, so that the main motivation of those who run it have to do with the generation of “own resources”. The classroom teacher is a worker who must adapt to the free market.

Faced with the crisis of the traditional model of school administration, and in the face of the neoliber model of education, we collect the rich tradition of modern pedagogy and the experiences of advanced educational systems, as well as the experiences of popular education in our America, to indicate elements of administrative management of the school.

1. The school of work.

It means the projection of the school into the life of society for the training of free producers and citizens. Its organization is not of isolation but of insertion in the social environment; not its adaptation but its transformation.

2. Permanent relationship between theory and practice.

The organization and administration of the school should lead to collecting practical experiences, systematizing them with theory and applying them. This requires means, adequate spaces, laboratory modules, experimentation fields; in short, a new relationship between the school and the environment.

3. Collective and democratic leadership.

Directors, teachers, students, organizations of the environment where the school is located will constitute a unit for fundamental decision making; democratic participation that will influence the operation of the entire school structure, giving the real image of a dynamic and fraternal community, capable of generating educational policies.

4. Collective teaching-learning process.

Schedule and arrangement of teaching subjects for teachers and students to interact in the process, away from the verticalism of the old school.

5. Interdisciplinary relationship.

Without prejudice to teaching specialties, the school must promote the unity of knowledge, the integration of subjects, the mutual influence of scientific, humanistic and technological specialties.

6. Coeducation for all.

Unified education of the sexes should be an implicit obligation as an educational tool for equal rights between men and women; democratic rights mechanism for women. Coeducation is still not fully developed and its significant absence reflects the strong presence of conservative elements in the education of many American and Caribbean countries.

7. Personal and collective self-development.

In reality, we educate -or should we educate- so that people acquire the capacity to continue educating themselves, self-developing personally, and to contribute to the self-development of others. In this sense, the organization and administration of the schools will facilitate self-development activities.

VII. The School System

School systems have been recomposed in many countries of the world, of course in America. The World Bank has been guiding reforms in the structure of school systems, prioritizing primary education in underdeveloped countries, seeking universalization at that level. Its reform, however, forces the de-professionalization of teachers and strongly taxes parents.

Changes in school systems, that is, in the organizational structure of an educational system, are irrelevant if they do not obey significant principles, objectives and ends.

In today’s world, Initial Education is valued without exceptions as the training base to guarantee a better and full training and a significant schooling later on. Where there are differences, sometimes very serious, is at the basic level, among those who consider Primary education as the basic level; among those who extend basic to high school; and among those who propose the disappearance of Primary and Secondary to replace them with a longer basic one. A post-secondary level is also discussed.

Today’s school systems have a similar structure. All try to adapt the school system to national needs, or to their educational conception. On this it is risky to draw up guidelines that are valid or valid for all countries. Nevertheless. We must remember that next to regular education, we must consider adult education, special education modalities, distance education, other forms of out-of-school education using communication technologies.

For our part, we propose the introduction of a sub-system of national education for all programs using the most varied communication instruments, on the problems of ecology, the dissemination of culture, the defense of human rights, civil defense , collective health care, sports and recreation, etc.

Renewed school systems must be totalizing in that they must encompass all elements of education and culture; articulated, which means interrelation of levels and degrees throughout its structure; flexible, allowing the necessary changes to be made in the application process; functional, in such a way that they serve the global development project of each country and the needs of the population.

VIII. The conditions

1. The scene of America is varied in its original nature and in its culture. The wealth it contains allows the creative imagination to develop to educate children and to make school an attractive space, as evidenced by numerous experiences in popular education.

2. In order to develop a democratic education in our America, it is necessary, however, to produce fundamental changes in the exercise of state power, in its management, in the management of the economy and of the media. Without democratic states and societies, democratic education cannot exist or develop. The most difficult obstacle at present is the neoliberal strategy that has curtailed social rights related to education, health and social security.

3. Only with profound changes in education can the current crisis be overcome. We need a comprehensive educational reform in each country and that does not only stay in the curricular, methodological and administrative.

4. A substantial condition for developing a democratic educational reform is the validity of the public school as a right to education and the obligation of the State, its modernization and renewal, with its historical, political, economic, cultural and pedagogical content. Without a public school, it will not be possible to develop equal opportunities for all, nor will it be possible to face the privatization wave of neoliberalism.

5. The defense of the teaching profession as a public career is another condition to guarantee a new education, since neoliberalism has decided to destroy it, starting with a scathing criticism of the impoverished teaching of Latin America and the Caribbean, undermining and belittling it to justify the reduction of remunerations in real terms.

6. We are aware that only a broad movement for the defense of the public school and the search for an alternative of democratic education will be able to make the change possible, the change of course in the education of our peoples. That awareness must be generated in our American peoples. Teachers, youth, democratic intellectuals are part of the social and political forces that must engage in a struggle that, for its great objectives, will be long and complex, subject to the strong pressure exerted by the globalization of monopolies and their International organizations.

IX. Teaching Profile

American teachers are subject to different economic and social conditions, depending on whether they belong to the developed world of the United States. USA and Canada; or we belong to underdeveloped countries.

In the first place, teacher training, its components and its process should be addressed. The assumption of the uselessness of the teacher in the face of the development of cybernetics and the modern processes of transmission of ideas, texts, etc., is nothing serious. Teacher preparation will continue to be a necessity for future societies. What will change will be its profile, its components, but not its fundamental role in the teaching-learning process.

We conceive teacher training at three levels:

1o) the level of general culture for all teachers, which includes knowledge and understanding of natural, human, cultural, scientific, and technological phenomena, including cybernetics and its development for information management; in this sense, the teacher must know the fundamental data of the geography and history of the world and of his country; the natural sciences and the basic elements of mathematics, the arts and literature, technological processes, psychology and philosophy; that is to say, we require a teacher with the most solid cultural training possible to face the great challenges of what is already called the “knowledge society”;

2o) the level of pedagogical training common to all teachers, regardless of their specialty, which means a thorough knowledge of Pedagogy in general, general methods and scientific research, the auxiliary sciences of Pedagogy, pedagogical psychology, etc.; in such a way that the future teacher knows the foundations of his profession;

3o) the level of specialized training, which includes sufficient practice in the corresponding specialty; therefore, at this level of training level the professional difference occurs.

Teacher training must be of a university level and not, as neoliberalism conceives it, as a mere technique of transmission or facilitation of learning. The university training of the new teacher, being a necessity, must, however, be flexible, in such a way that it is possible to train indigenous teachers and other cultural minorities who work in their own reality, who educate their own people, not to produce segmentation. between them and the other ethnic groups, or between them and the mestizos or “whites”, but to facilitate the educational process and the revaluation of the cultural elements of each town. Regarding the characteristics of the teacher, the profile itself, we conceive as the most significant:

1) solid professional training and focused on scientific knowledge of its reality and the subjects within its competence;

2) permanent commitment to the problems of your country and the population;

3) commitment to the efforts for the transformation of unjust realities and the creation of a just social order;

4) respectful of children and youth and forger of them in conscience of dignity and the fight for a better world;

5) driver and organizer of his people to improve their living conditions and conquer their rights;

6) democratic behavior in and out of school;

7) honesty and love of the truth, without whose exercise irrational fanaticism leads to errors in the practice of teaching.

The type of school that each country has is reflected in the class of teachers, in their behavior towards children.

The new teacher will always look for the child to develop his own strength from the first years, to conquer what some pedagogues call “cognitive independence”; to shape their personality through harmonious and multilateral education, so that children learn to face new problems and solve them, during their school days and afterwards. Only a teacher persuaded of his mission and properly and sufficiently trained can make such achievements possible.

In each of our countries there are paradigms and models of teachers that we must exalt, value and present to new generations.

X. Looking for a Common Destination

Americans are destined to conquer the unity of ideals on the basis of justice, democracy, equality, and mutual respect. Every American country has transcendent values that come from its past. It is these values that we must highlight in order to overcome the forces that make it impossible to unite; also our national and popular traditions, the legacy of humanity and the creative application of scientific and technological advances.

Los documentos y investigaciones del proceso IDEA se han realizado gracias al aporte de:

The British Columbia Teachers Federation

The Canadian International Development Agency (Hemispheric Programme)

The Organization of American States

(Social Development and Education Unit)

CoDevelopment Canada

The Canadian Teachers Federation

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation

Anfitriones de la Conferencia IDEA:
Unión Nacional de Educadores de Ecuador (UNE)