Special Education for Students with Mild Disabilities in Latin America: Issues and Prospects
ALFREDO J. ARTILES, STANLEY C. TRENT, AND DANIEL P. HALLAHAN
There is a Third World in every First World, and vice-versa.
-- Trinh T. Minh-Ha, "Difference," Discourse 8
Evidence suggests that the future of general and special education in Latin America is precarious. On the one hand, the rapid population growth will increase the demand for schools and teachers. This might have disastrous consequences for children and youth, especially if investment in education continues to shrivel. On the other hand, a wave of democratic experiments has swept the region in recent years. This has caused governments to start implementing deep economic transformations in their societies through the privatization of the bureaucracy and the opening of local markets to foreign investors.
Unfortunately, too many reforms have been pursued in the name of democracy and progress (or modernization), when, in fact, these efforts will only have economic and political benefits for the elite of these societies. Ironically, these reform and investment activities are expected to project a democratic semblance of these governments to the international banking community. New roads and buildings, a larger volume of cash flow, the construction of large shopping centers filled with imported merchandise, and increased trade activities have given the illusion to many potential donors and lending agencies that progress has indeed arrived in the Latin American region.
Meanwhile, a dramatic crisis quietly pervades Latin American coun-