Magazine article Newsweek International

Blogger: Isadora Faber

Magazine article Newsweek International

Blogger: Isadora Faber

Article excerpt

Byline: Mac Margolis

A teenager exposes Brazil's crumbling schools.

Until a few months ago, Isadora Faber was like any other Brazilian middle-schooler. She liked listening to Guns N' Roses and hanging out at the beach, and the day wasn't complete without walking her white poodle, Ziggy, which she named after Bob Marley's son. But along came the blogosphere and an adolescent itch to call things as she saw them, and life for this intensely shy 13-year-old hasn't been the same since.

It started in June, when-- inspired by a Scottish grade-schooler--she launched Classroom Diary, an online community to vent about problems in her school in the southern Brazilian town of Santa Catarina. It was a Facebook page, not an attempt to start the Brazilian Spring, but almost overnight Isadora became a regular guest on talk shows, the bane of school administrators, and a champion for kids fed up with the sorry state of public education.

Isadora's digital intifada started modestly enough. After seven years at her elementary school, she grew tired of promises of improvements that never materialized, so she started keeping record. With a cellphone camera in hand, she wandered the hallways registering what she saw. It wasn't pretty: classrooms cluttered with broken desks, bathrooms without doors or toilet seats. "One room had a ceiling fan with bare wires that gave you a shock when you switched it on," she said. One of her most popular posts was about a painter who had been paid two years prior to spruce up the gym, but never completed his work. (The bathroom has since been painted. …

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