Estud. pedagóg.  vol.42 no.3; Abstract: S0718-07052016000400005
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CANALES, Manuel, BELLEI, Cristián and ORELLANA, Víctor. Why to choose a semi-private school? Middle social class sectors and school choice in a market system. Estud. pedagóg., 2016, vol.42, no.3, p.89-109. ISSN 0718-0705.

The idea of introducing market mechanisms to education has prompted a political debate and research around school choice. Chile has been a paradigmatic case on this, implementing a comprehensive neoliberal educational reform; a relevant effect has been a rapid educational privatization, especially among the middle classes. The objective of this study was to understand the meaning of choosing a private school according to middle class parents. We conducted in depth interviews and focus groups with parents living in two middle class areas of Santiago. Our findings show that parents make decisions mainly oriented by social reasons, trying to avoid lower socioeconomic groups (considered to be risky), which makes them to discard public, free, and non-selective schools, and value schools that offer a strong disciplinary control. Thus, educational criteria are subordinated to the search for socio-educational segregation.

Keywords: school choice; educational privatization; qualitative studies; educational segregation; meaning of social action.

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