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Civita Dei | Notes on The Brazilian Education Lobby

Brasil Escola — an educational publication of Brazil’s Record media group — observes, correctly, a major source of difficulty in trying to cover, in any comprehensive way, the actions of corporate, private and third-sector lobbies, and combinations thereof.

The trouble is that the lobbying industry here is just about as unregulated as Liberty Valence. I translate:

The term “lobby” is frequently heard in the political milieu. Sadly, however, most people hold an incorrect view of the term’s meaning.

First of all, we should understand that lobbying is nothing more than the bringing of political pressure by groups seeking to influence official policy for their own ends, whether openly or in secret.

Lobbying is a very natural activity, something we all do. Examples include a son trying to get his father to increase his allowance, or a union debating improved working conditions.  In the U.S., lobbying is openly recognized  and even regulated by law. Lobbying is acknowledged as an important part of the political process.

Some experts believe that lobbying should not sneak in  through the back door, which only supports accusations of improprieties.  According to Maria Coeli Simões Pires, secretary of regional development and urban policy for the government of Minas Gerais, there are no angels in the political world, and no demons as well, merely interests, chief of which are economic interests. Viewed this way, lobbying must unlink itself from illegalities, since defending special interests is not only not illegal but rather a fundamental right.

First of all, in the case of «edutainment» policy, what groups seek to influence federal, state and local education policy in Brazil, and what are their respective agenda and tactics? The answer involves sophisticated governance structures set up to facilitate private- and third-sector collaboration with municipal, state, and federal bodies and private enterprise.

«Program, get your program, you can’t tell the players without a program!”

Selecting key-man nodes in publicly available social networks and traversing their relationships — above, aa chain leading to international philanthropy by Sylvan Laureate — is a legitimate method, but also very labor-intensive.

I propose using automated «beat-building» techniques to obrain an overview of the sector.

First, relevant and useful Web sites are selected and crawled, breadth-firt — using NaviCrawler or WIRE, in my case — and a link ecology analysis is performed, using Pajek, Gephi and yEd.

Then, using yEd, basic social network characteristics can be diagrammed and pondered visually.

In this case, I started with a hypothesis supported by enough anecdotal evidence to make it worth testing, namely, the educational lobbying by leading educational publishers, which just so happen to be nation-leading media companies in their fields — Globo in TV and radio and Abril in print publishing, and especially in educational publishing.

Both Globo and Abril  have used the gajillion gigawatt megaphone of their market power in the past to attack government policies on moral and ideological grounds — that tired old «liberal media brainwashing» Tea Party import.

Both have collaborated with foreign lobbies bent on capturing the youth market — above, Sylvan Laureate as a major sponsor of the Campus Party and the XX «Camp» youth movement.

Let us begin, however, with the Victor Civita Foundation, named in honor of the paterfamilias of Abril’s ruling Civita clan.

Shown above is a hierarchical view of the foundation Web site in its network  neighborhood, color-coded from pale to saturated to indicate network centrality. To me, it suggests that Abril’s Exame magazine both draws upon and feeds the company’s advocacy efforts, together with such advertisers and marketing partners as Telefônica and Gerdau. Actually reading the magazine reinforces this impression.

Acquired just last year, amid antitrust concerns, Abril’s Atica and Scipione imprints are busy cultivating content partnerships with foreign firms, such as Cambridge University and Britannica.

Foreign content streams are a lively topic in general, leading to local concerns about foreign lobbies.

The Folha de S. Paulo just recently added a New York Times digest in translation to its weekend edition; Carta Capital runs translated content from the Economist; and Valor — a parternship of O Globo with the Folha de S. Paulo — runs material from the W$J on UOL’s portal.

In the educational publishing field, the major publishers have objected strongly to policies designed to give educators more freedom of choice in the selection of curricula published as Open Courseware — as a result of which we have seen a pandemic of «Textbook C is a tool of Communist indoctrination» scandal-mongering from Abril and Globo.

Even so, the publishers are mounting social media campaigns that offer some of the same features, even if the content on the block is proprietary in its origin. Related to the Civita Foundation in some way are such NGOs and social nets as

  1. Novo Ser
  2. Comunidades de Praticas — a PVC or Professional Virtual Community
  3. Siga Concursos — competitive exams for public teaching jobs
  4. Eu Amo Educar —
  5. Apoio Escola —
  6. Portal Pedagógico —

The Buzz Machining of Education Lobbies

There a wealth of publicity and netroots campaign named fior variations on the meme of a «right to education».

Let me see if I can come up with a comprehensive list and then sort things out according to social network theory.

  1. Campanha pela Educação «–» Campaign For Education
  2. Ação Educativa
  3. Educar Para Crescer
  4. Vozes da Educação
  5. Diretito a Educação
  6. PNE Para Valer
  7. Portal do Professor | Ministry of Education
  8. Melhorar o Aprendizado |  Senna Foundation, Globo
  9. UNDIME | National Union of Municipal Education Managers
  10. Direito a Educação
  11. Educar D. Paschoal
  12. CENPEC | Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas em Educação, Cultura e Ação Comunitária
  13. Change Makers
  14. Educarede [Telefónica Foundation]]
  15. Nossa São Paulo  [Sylvan Laureate]
  16. Eu Você Todos pela Educação
  17. Ashoka | [[McKinsey]]
  18. Blog Educação
  19. CONSED | Congress of State Education Officials
  20. Observatório da Educação
  21. Amigos da Escola [[Globo-FRM]]

Above, the links page of Item 19.

Item 18, registered to the corporate philanthropic Instituto Votorantim, presents ties to the youth marketing and political mobilization campaigns marshalled by WAN-IFRAand its national chapter, the ANJ — Associação Nacional de Jornais. MOre crawl data is needed. A rough and ready application of

wget -rH --tries=5 blogeducacao.org.br

yields a network in which Abril education titles play a significant role.

The Nuova agency — a Microsoft SharePoint developer — appears to be responsille for some if not all of the digital strategy here.

Nuova’s client list overlaps with the donors here, above.

The list includes work for the Folha de S. Paulo as well. Editora AJS is an educational publisher …

In the public sphere, in addition to muncipal education secretaries, there is also a network of state education councils, the CEEs.

The Campaign for Education and the Campanha pela Educação are machine-translated versions of one another, and probably share patronage. Checking …

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I lost the thread … try again tomorrow …