Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospec...

Antonio José Müller, Cesar Augusto Rossatto

American Journal of Educational Research

Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospects for Brazil and United States’ Higher Education

Antonio José Müller1, Cesar Augusto Rossatto2,

1Departament of Education, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, Brazil

2Department of Teacher Education, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, USA


Knowledge studied in academia is mostly inherited from the northern hemisphere and little is said of the southern contribution. Without a doubt, United States has left a remarkable legacy in higher education, once Brazil currently manifest restlessness, longings, and recent remarkable growth. Brazil built several new public universities and invested in financial incentive programs to enhance educational outcomes. Brazil takes refuge in international support instead of seeking to foster and strengthen internal talent or even attract talent from abroad, which United States has done for years. Thus, this article presents important characteristics of American higher education system and compare it to Brazilian’s. Based on an international comparative study, this article uses distinctive analysis of higher education development and its potential to advance quality of education in general. It also examines and discusses the real and viable possibility for Brazilian higher education improvement opportunities based on North American academic experiences.

Cite this article:

  • Antonio José Müller, Cesar Augusto Rossatto. Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospects for Brazil and United States’ Higher Education. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 17, 2016, pp 1231-1237. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/17/7
  • Müller, Antonio José, and Cesar Augusto Rossatto. "Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospects for Brazil and United States’ Higher Education." American Journal of Educational Research 4.17 (2016): 1231-1237.
  • Müller, A. J. , & Rossatto, C. A. (2016). Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospects for Brazil and United States’ Higher Education. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(17), 1231-1237.
  • Müller, Antonio José, and Cesar Augusto Rossatto. "Quality of Education Distinctive Multi-Dimensional Trends: The Real and Viable Transnational Prospects for Brazil and United States’ Higher Education." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 17 (2016): 1231-1237.

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1. Introduction

Even though recent low student enrolment and decrease in number of tenure tracks positions is a common pattern, higher education in the U.S. is still a leading force worldwide, even though many new Ph.D. graduates lack descent labor opportunities. Every year the British magazine Times Higher Education, specializing in higher education provides the ranking of the best universities in the world. In its last survey (2015-16) [1], the ranking shows that among the 100 best universities in the world, 39 are American. In addition, among the top ten, seven are American, in order: 1) CalTech, 3) Stanford, 5) MIT, 6) Harvard, 7) Princeton and 10) UChicago. The methodology used to build this ranking considers comparative analysis of factors such as: Quality of education (learning environment); Research: volume, investments and reputation; Quotation Number (influence search by other authors); International Perspectives (number of foreign teachers, students, and influences in the world of research); and Investments (financial amounts received from public and private institutions for innovation and technology).

This international comparative study (USA and Brazil) examines differential analysis in the development of quality of education in higher ed. This study describes special features of American higher education, its characteristics and functioning, with contemporary possibilities for academic excellence, with the intention to make suggestions for the improvement of education in Brazil. Following the belief that Brazil needs a better quality of teacher preparation, which starts in universities to subsequently improve the quality of education in any educational level, (from higher education to K-12).

1.1. Objective

Considering that United States has left a distinguish legacy in higher education, the intention of the study is to present some ideas of American higher education system that can be applied in Brazil with the intention of improving the educational status in Brazil.

1.2. Study Question

To achieve the aim objective of this study, the research questions examine:

• What are the essential features of the American higher education system that could be used to improve higher education in Brazil?

• How Brazil can keep the best scientists and professors avoiding the “brain drain” phenomena?

2. Methodology

The study describes the context of higher education in Brazilian and U.S. modern societies and its relation to education. These issues are investigated using conventional literature resources, placing strong emphasis on interpretation and analysis of primary sources.

This study uses a cross-cultural or cross-national and international comparative analysis. From this perspective, the recurring themes discussed are: American Higher Education Structure, Teacher Preparation Programs, Internationalization of American Universities, Scholarships and Educational Quality.

This article examines issues in these two countries to compare pertinent indicators in distinctive higher education settings. The analysis seeks explanations for similarities and differences, to generalize from them or to gain a greater awareness and a deeper understanding of reality in different national higher education contexts [2].

Comparison is inherent in all science, including the social sciences, where comparative research has historically played a significant role in their development as pertaining technical disciplines. There are advantages and disadvantages to selecting countries as “comparators‟ (the units being compared). One disadvantage is that sometimes within-country differences are obscured, since in some national units’ internal diversity may be greater than the diversity observed when comparing countries with one another [3].

3. Structure of American Higher Education

The American higher education system follows common principles of education as it represents the final classification hierarchical stages. Tertiary education is offered in universities and colleges. Essentially, the college offers two-year courses and certifies academic formed with the Associate Degree, also known as Intermediate Degree. The universities offer regular courses of four years, and emit bachelor's degrees.

Within these principles, the institutions are public or private and still have liberal arts colleges, and community colleges. Although there is a ministry of education, higher education is decentralized and all standards and accreditations are regulated in the form of state boards, each state is responsible for the operation of state universities and regional colleges.

There is a level of competition for knowledge in American universities. U.S. has one the highest rates of financial incentives in the world, scholars compete for grants, where competitiveness can facilitate rates increase of success. Many scientists and “imported” experienced educators, from all over the world, also increases the educational institutions’ reputation levels. Despite the hierarchical “nature” of institutional structures in the United States, not all colleges and universities necessarily compete with one another. However, within certain tiers, institutions do appear to compete for students, for faculty, and for prestige [4].

The most common admission test to enter the university is called the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test), some states use the ACT (American College Testing), or even GRE for others. These tests measure the power of mathematical reasoning and interpretation of texts, languages, history, science and arts. Some universities also require letters of recommendation and transcripts.

The school year is usually divided into two semesters of four months each, or three quarters of three months each. Most professors perform four or five courses each semester, three, or four subjects each quarter, whereas Tier I or research institutions professors teach two courses per semester. Students in the first academic year of higher education are called freshmen in the second year are called sophomores in these first two years the courses are general training. In the third year, juniors and fourth year seniors, scholars studying more intensively in areas of specific training to obtain the degrees of bachelors.

There are more than 4,600 universities and colleges throughout the country and the characteristics that differentiate the institutions are as follows:

3.1. Universities

Universities are institutions that offer four-year courses with focus on research. The universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses (masters and doctoral). The universities participating in the accreditation system, which is made by reviewers that consider some factors that, determine the quality of higher education. For example, the physical structure (library, laboratories, living areas, technology, and internet access), number masters and PhD professors, level and number of publication, external funding for research announcements (grants) and the high quality of the courses offered.

All universities, both public and private, charge the credits (tuition) of their students. The tuition is paid fully at the beginning of the semester and not monthly, like in Brazil. In addition to tuitions, public universities are maintained by the state government and may receive financial support from the federal government through grants. There are another fundraising means, with the donation (endowment). Endowment from alumni is one of the most common types of donation. As universities and public colleges are state character, the resident students in the state pay lower values compared to students from other states. For international students, the tuition is even higher. Some private universities of greater tradition and quality are hold the confessional character such as Catholic (Notre Dame), Protestants (Harvard), Lutheran (Concordia) or Mormons (BYU).

3.2. Colleges

They are also called Community Colleges. The main feature of the college is related to the duration of their courses. The courses require 60 hours of credits, usually obtained in two years’ duration, divided into three parts: general education subjects; specific area disciplines; and electives (alternative courses based on individual interest). In two years, the students receive the title of Associate Degree, in many cases, transferring to a university and finish their degree in two more years of studies. There are some colleges with four-year courses and graduate in bachelor's degree. Other unique features are related to easier access and much smaller tuition values on the universities. Some colleges are within the universities. As an example, the College of Medicine in the University of Florida.

3.3. Liberal Arts Colleges

These are four-year institutions such as universities as well, but with special features. They are usually smaller institutions and with great concern for teaching and less on research. They offer a wide range of courses and subjects, especially in the areas of sciences and humanities. The largest attribute of the Liberal Arts Colleges may be widespread or multidisciplinary curriculum with small classes and education aimed to develop the criticality and creativity. Some of the biggest and best American universities have the Liberal Arts College within their campuses as an option of general intellectual training and less for specific or professional emphasis.

Within the Liberal Arts College, the curriculum varies from one college to another per area prominence and instead to emphasize a specific course of study, exposes students to a wide variety of courses in humanities and social sciences. Therefore, an education student may be studying pedagogy, but at the same time attending courses in political science, history, languages, sociology, psychology, mathematics, science, religion, philosophy, and other numerous options.

This experience began in 1636 at Harvard as a model for other universities, such as Yale, Princeton, among others. As science and technology have made significant advances in recent years, universities have offered more and more courses that suit the demands of the new era. While universities have adopted a bias oriented research, others have chosen to remain smaller and committed to a liberal education. Over time, this feature has enriched the quality of American higher education.

One of the Liberal Arts mission is to educate students in a holistic way, emphasizing the development of the person as a whole, to think critically, challenging students to think “outside the box” and not just the preparation for work or a profession, but to be active participant citizens, who can make a significant contribution to society. This would define quality of education at grassroots level.

Liberal Arts Colleges are considered distinctively American, and offers a unique opportunity in small towns. As small communities, these colleges provide favorable environments in which to develop and test elements of curriculum and related programs for making responsible citizenship a meaningful part of undergraduate experience. When undiluted by vocational priorities, their academic domain and campus attributes provide opportunities to encourage thoughtful and creative initiatives [5].

Many of Liberal Arts colleges in the United States were also founded by several religious denominations (Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, Mormon, Presbyterian, Protestant, etc.) and many of these have maintained curricular content links with their religious institutional foundation in preparation for new parishioners. Nevertheless, many of these institutions maintain a limited religious presence on campus, leaving all the religious ties and relatively inhibit scientific research for the theological or religious knowledge. In some colleges, students can develop their own program. In other universities historically focused on a specific ethnic population, such as whites or black population, or with gender divide. only for women and others only for men.

The American initiative to create a "school" or Liberal Arts College launched the American education to distinctive higher levels, when compared to international institutions, breaking the conservative traditional barriers of thinking about education. This made a difference, even though it still followed many of Eurocentric theories, with very limited native indigenous knowledge inclusion. This education empowers learners to prepare to face complex situations related to diversity and social change. Potentiates and challenges students with a broad knowledge that expand the world of science, culture and society. As it deepens not only general knowledge, but also the expertise derived from interests of each university. These studies help students to develop a sense of responsibility and strengthens intellectual and practical skills, such as communication, analytical problem solving and demonstrates how to apply the knowledge based in real situations in the today´s world. This education has a multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature with great commitment to intellectual flexibility to continue learning throughout life.

Finally, "liberal arts" serve students who wish to become educated citizens, conscious and productive members of society, learning to learn. An education that emphasizes training, instead of filling blank slates minds, where students can reinvent themselves with the changes of the new times. Scholars in these contexts develop internal policies where they become "owners", or responsible authorities on academic curriculum development. For instance, one of us authors developed a series of new courses, such as Paulo Freire and Social Justice, Ethics, Critical Pedagogy, Gender Equality, Indigenous Epistemology, Social Cultural Foundations of Education, Critical Multiculturalism, among others. If faculty governance is respected, scholars and students are free to organize themselves in creative ways. Both can join different university associations, and be members of unions or teacher organizations that result in social and academic empowerment.

4. Professorship

Educators in American higher education are called “Professors” (or doctors) and not as a teacher, commonly used in schools. This is due to the name in a position of greater academic level and respect the high qualification and experience normally obtained by Professors. Hiring teacher usually happens through a process where the candidate applies for the position/role that the department offers its job line by sending CV, diplomas and letters of recommendation. Being among the candidates nominated from a shortlist, selected by a committee of educators (future colleagues)--which will make the final recommendations- he or she will be invited to visit the university where they will be interviewed by the head of department (Chair) by center director (Dean).

Usually the candidate has moments of conversation with other faculties, administrative assistants and the president of the university. Applicants also present a colloquium, usually for students of graduate courses, where evaluators and the students observe the academic ability of candidates, subject knowledge and the candidate's research interests in relation to the department, which is a factor that can increase the employment chances. An important note about the candidates takes place during social events such as dinners/lunch, where the evaluators ask the candidates about their opinions and views on general issues such as politics, economics and knowledge of the applied university and the region where it is located.

4.1. Tenure or Non-Tenure Track Positions

Tenure is a long-term contract condition for professors where they become “permanent” faculty after the probationary period, usually five to seven years. The tenure is offered only to professors with doctoral degree, who presents conditions of excellence both teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, in addition to high levels of scientific publications and presentations at conferences, including also other services for the university and the academic community. There are levels of classification for professors, considering their experience and academic production, such as: Assistant Professor (initial level of teachers and newly doctors and without obtaining tenure); Associate Professor (professor at intermediate level already with tenure); and Professor or Full Professor (experienced professor in administrative activities, with great scientific production, extensive experience mentoring students, obtaining grants or funds).

The tenure system in higher ed. institutions of the United States requires from professors a consistent individual development. The high demands in obtaining the title makes professors reach advanced performance levels of excellence in teaching and research. This prerequisite is part of ongoing evaluative criteria, since professors have the necessary conditions and support to fulfill their teaching job or research production. This requirement also attracts the best scientists and professors in the world who seek conditions to build their careers with the best possibilities in terms of structure and resources. The merit is related to professor performance and the result may come in the form of financial compensation, with the increase of wages, increased respect for intellectual and scientific capacity and the working condition, with freedom of ideas at the highest academic and professional levels, secured by Academic Freedom law.

It is generally observed three main functions to prospective tenure: service, teaching and publications. Some universities use a point system to qualify and quantify the academic work; institutional, state, national or international levels (with small degree of subjectivity and political underpinnings). In relation to education, student evaluations are used in addition to the improvements that professors do in their courses to continuously improve teaching and learning. But what have the greatest importance are the publications or academic research papers. A famous expression in the United States is used within the academic community: "Publish or perish", since the quality of publication ensures the professor’s success and academic work is not stored in the library, gathering dust. The work needs to show relevance and how it translates into possible influences to new educational policies or how teaching and evaluation methods can be applied in real situations. After all, the professors’ main task is to be able to become an intellectual leader and make a name for them, have followers who use their ideas to improve education in different contexts and proving to be purposeful for students.

To get tenure, professors must respect a long and difficult process that takes into consideration all its functions carried out during the probationary period. This includes external and internal evaluations at various levels conducted by students and colleagues of the department, as well as recommendations made by members of other departments, including other institutions, and governing board of regents and university administrators.

The salaries of university professors vary according to their degrees and academic ranks. The wages oscillate from US$ 50,000 a year for a teacher assistant in human sciences up to US$ 166,000 a year for a professor-researcher in the field of law. The highest salaries are distributed in universities and four-year colleges, for a full-time research-professor with tenure, and especially in the areas of health, administration, law and computer engineering. Overall, average wages are classified as follows:

Table 1. US Professors Average Annual Salary in Dollars

In a simple comparison with Brazil, it is noticeable the differences which, without considering the currency devaluation and rising inflation, a Ph.D. professor at early career in public universities receive about R$$8.400 reais per month, ($2,470 dollars), with a quoted dollar to R$3.40 reais (quotation in Aug/2016), while in the US in an equivalent role (assistant professor with a doctorate) receives US$ 5,750. Therefore, the salary of a professor in Brazil is about 33% lower from the US professor in the same level.

The salary level of professors in the US, allows the country to recruit the best scientists and professors in the world. This increases the level academic performance and brings great advancement in the quality of teaching and research. US’ scholars are recognized for the quality of their research, contributing to the reputation of the institution, unlike Brazil where professors are rewarded by the amount of production, where quantity is more important than the scientific relevance (even though this is also observable in the U.S. as well). Yet what is most noticeable is that the number of scholars working in higher education institutions in the United States, who are Nobel Prize winners, despite representing American universities, many of them are transnational immigrants. This reality is one of the determining factors that place US institutions among the world's best, since the great talents played a big role contributing to universities reputations.

5. Internationalization of American Universities

Another important category worth to mention in the classification of universities world prominence, is not only scholars’ immigrant background but also the total number of foreign students. Data provided by the Times Higher Education magazine shows that there are about half a million foreign students enrolled in American universities and colleges. This influence the ability to attract highly qualified students from all over the world to undergraduate and graduate programs, a compelling key point of success in the scenario of classification for distinction “best universities.” It is not only the teaching talent, endowed with many foreigners, but also foreigners’ talented students and their diversity experiences that enrich education.

Meaning also that the greater number of foreigners increases the international importance of the institution. This category looks at the diversity on campus and to what degree the students and teachers collaborated with international colleagues in research projects, since many of them are foreigners, the United States has made tremendous efforts over the years to attract international talent, which by itself is a great advantage.

With the intention of increasing reputation by aggregating foreigners in their campuses, universities seek to improve the structure and conditions to invite and receive foreign students. Universities with large numbers of international students often have an office that offers services specially designed for them and a Dean for foreign students who can oversee these services. Partnerships with community agencies, local Churches, and family volunteers, can offer these students support and a nurturing atmosphere that makes them feel welcome and makes the transition and cultural immersion easier [7].

Recalling that international students contribute to the considerable financial accretion of the value contribution reverted to the institution since the tuition is more expensive to foreigners in relation to citizens who pay in state tuition. Foreigners pay three higher amounts than local students. This financial support is transferred to the improvement of the institution that uses these values in hiring the best professors, construction of new facilities, laboratories and research facilities, among others.

Another distinctive difference can be seen in the proportion of publications in reputable and high scientific visibility journals, as they are usually cited cascading effect on other jobs and many are produced in partnership with other international institutions and co-authored with foreign scholars. This fact is amplified by the English language condition, being the universal language, benefiting American institutions and approaches to research, facilitating teaching to educators and students who are not native English speakers, but do use English as the professional academic mode.

Besides importing teachers or students’ talents, the best American universities seek to further enhance their reputation by building campuses outside the United States. Some reasons contributing to this initiative abroad is related to the difficulty of some students get visas to study in the US. Another reason is the lack of vacancies in Asian universities and the Middle East, this condition has caused some campuses to open institutions, increasing access to students at places where demand is large. Some countries invite American universities to open their campuses in their own territory, with tax benefits or infrastructure incentives. The opening of new institutions in these countries brings many benefits, among them competition with local institutions and increases academic performance, offering new courses with high quality and the considerable increase in scientific production.

There is a ban of foreign universities setting up institutional bases in Brazil. Some institutions have partnerships and agreements, but limited to a few exchanges of teachers and students. Even the Ministry of Education promotes the international access of Brazilian students through programs such as "Ciências Sem Fronteiras” (Science Without Borders) which intends to "internationalize science and technology, to keep in touch with competitive educational systems in relation to technology and innovation." One of the proposals of the program is the exchange of educators with the ability to welcome researchers to take up residence in Brazil and promote the quality of Brazilian local institutions. The program is widely appreciated and of great value, however it would be simpler, efficient and economical to promote technology and innovation in Brazilian universities, with the improvement of laboratories, development of staff and the internationalization of Brazilian higher education. Hence, the benefits would be long lasting for students and educators, not just scholars [8].

The brain drain phenomenon (brain drain, the name given to the exodus of talent immigrating to other countries) is real and affects Brazil in addition to the investment that ends up benefiting other countries at the expense of the country, many other countries globe south also suffer these effects. Most of knowledge studied at university worldwide come from globe north (Germany, England, Italy, France and U.S.). This contributes to a global epistemecide, especially to indigenous’ epistemology. That epistemecide a post-neoliberal sociology of knowledge, and a manifesto for intellectual, emotional and political rebellion against systemic epistemic injustices in history, science, law, culture and everyday life [9].

The globe south contribution to knowledge once validated will enrich to more holistic foundations of epistemology, which by nature is less binary, dualistic, and linear Eurocentric.

The United States facilitate the maximum, legally and financially, for the arrival of international talent, reversing the phenomenon of brain drain to brain gain). Many countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, India and others spend a fortune in the preparation of professionals and end up investing their future in countries like the United States and other European or Asia. As Brazil became a world economic leadership, it is expected it would implement a greater number of programs to attract and retain well-qualified academic talents.

In addition to low wages, high number teaching load and the minimum standard of academic service, there is no program to repatriate the Brazilian talent that went abroad. Brazil has brought medical doctors from abroad, most Cubans, but still doesn’t offer programs for Brazilian talent to return to Brazil. "Science Without Borders" offered non-permanent rather temporary incentive.

6. Scholarship

The public or private American universities charge tuition fees of their students. The scholarships are based on: merit (academic skills, artistic or sports); economic necessity (students belonging to underprivileged social classes); minority group specificity which had historically been marginalized (minorities, gender, racial groups or specific religions or with any physical condition); and training area (areas where there is great need for vocational training as teaching or nursing). Besides some scholarships offered by philanthropic institution or companies and armed forces choses applicants. In the U. S., some amounts received through the scholarships are not repaid by the students, even though there is a growing number of students with student loans that take a life time to pay. This was one of Bernie Sanders’ successful presidency campaign platform item. In contrast in Brazil with the FIES (Fundo de Financiamento Estudantil – Financial Aid Fund).

The cost of tuition and living costs for studying in American universities vary per quality and duration of the course chosen, plus the location of the institution. The table below lists the average expenditure per year per institution and course duration.

Table 2. Average cost of American universities (2014/15) the average expenditure per year according to the institution and course duration

Table 2 is expenditure the academic costs (tuition, fees, and books) and the expenses of room and board per year. Hence, for a family to keep a son or daughter in a four-year university until graduation, can range from US$ 75,000 up to US$ 170,000. Recalling that the figures presented represent an average of undergraduate and some universities charge up to US$ 60,000 per year just in tuition.

Both public and private charge considerable amounts to an American middle-class family and despite that the public fees are lower compared to private, many students seek the scholarships option to study with the payment of tuition through their skills, specific needs or interests.

7. Quality Education

The great condition that limits or expand the quality of American education and the Brazilian is the preparation of educators and their subsequent contribution to their communities. Brazil has made many advances needed in the sense of social classes corrections, however leaves much to be improved in terms of quality education. Brazil is following the United States, by allocating many financial resources and assets in education (scholarships, quotas, infrastructure, and study materials). However, this investment alone does not advance the quality of education simply by increasing resources, but with well qualified teacher preparation which is achieved through the better quality of higher education.

So is the preparation of teachers in higher education that makes a difference in the improvement of elementary or high school. Per Rossatto [11], good preparation talks about critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving, but also in the training of teachers to be intellectual leaders of social transformation that make a difference in the quality of teaching and learning. The public-school teachers and even private using Action Research or Hands on Research are constantly reviewing its practices and thereby improving their teaching and thought leadership practice. This new line of theoretical and pedagogical thinking helps teachers to continually rethink their teaching performance, teaching and curriculum content with critical and constructive humility. Where teachers learn to know the problems of the school community, the difficulties faced by students, their cultures and so with common sense and practice critical, build the classroom work in context and engage situations where students can see a genuine connection to their own lives.

Anyon [12] discussed that, teachers tend to teach as they were taught. Per Apple [13] the theories of social reproduction and clearly indicate how they reproduce these dynamics in classrooms. The values ​​that society cultivates are played in schools. Following Oakes [14] schools reproduce societal culture. Unless the higher education quality challenge and transform the status quo, social transformation would be compromised.

Besides the tenure mentioned above, higher education also has a fundamental law called: Academic Freedom (academic freedom, extended by federal law freedom of speech) that supports teachers professionally and guarantees the intellectual freedom and expression. These facilitate the accuracy and reliability of the scientific production, helping the quality of education, as teachers feel more secure and confident to solidify their work without fear of being dismissed for ideological or philosophical issues.

7.1. When the Knowledge is Not Only Public but also Private

Although American universities have left a very noble legacy, they also undergo pressure from private sectors where knowledge is not produced in the public sphere, but also in the private spheres. Companies develop their scientific and technological advances and often-public universities do not have access to new discoveries; knowledge is the privilege of few and not shared.

Unfortunately, neoliberal influence is privatizing public schools and universities and pushes more and more students to "buy" diploma, (Diploma mill) through fast track. In this condition, the teachers are corralled to write grants or projects that result in funding to add in your own salary. Unfortunately, Brazil and other Latin American countries, have adopted standardized educational policies (standardized), based on tests. The disaster and sadness of these initiatives and practices is that teachers begin to teach to the test and not for life. The curriculum becomes limiting and cast.

On the other hand, Brazil could develop a greater number of non-profit programs to encourage research. Currently there are few Brazilian organizations that support these practices, and most of them are government. In the United States, there are numerous foundations and possibilities of grants (financial incentives for research or special academic projects) with very high financial opportunities to support teachers in their research using competitive selective criteria. Obviously, there are always conservative institutions with their hidden agendas supporting reactionary research too. Brazil has experienced abuse from dictatorial governments for many years and still cultivates the pedagogy of fear, complain and even the numbing hatred. These colonizing mentalities still permeate the dominant narrative in the country. A mastermind should be able to capture the popular wishes like these and deconstruct the narrative, making scientific analysis of historical nature, economic, political, and philosophical and therefore, as Paulo Freire, said, being able to see possibilities of hope based on concrete realities and not on abstract ideas and romanticized.

8. Conclusion

This text critically presented some features and details of American higher education and its operation. Also, exposes some peculiarities that make this country one of the best qualified in relation to the quality of education presented in undergraduate and graduate courses. The text draws comparisons with Brazil in relation to practices and possible legislation and policies to be used and implemented as an argument or discussion to improve the quality of Brazilian education. Respecting the cultural and economic differences, some of the foregoing suggestions here are plausible and would be extremely valid and possible in Brazil. Undoubtedly, the investment would help in the development of higher education, which consequently could make enhancements in basic education. Brazil had built eighteen new federal universities throughout the country in the last 15 years.

To facilitate the improvement of higher education in Brazil, here are some features of the American system that could be essential:

1) Valuing teachers by improving research conditions and wage income. Valuing research professors for the accuracy of the research and not by the amount of research without academic relevance or practical application;

2) Change the initial curriculum of universities so that students could seek a holistic and diverse initial training based on different disciplines, to later choose the professional and intellectual path with greater depth and decisiveness and quality in the construction of their knowledge;

3) Keep the talents, against brain drain, students and teachers as researchers in Brazil, through incentives and scholarships for competence or academic talent, artistic or sports and promoting intellectual advancement, in addition to enhancing the highest quality of education in parents;

4) Collect fees in public universities, especially for traditionally most competitive courses, like medicine, that are filled mostly by high social class students. This could assist disadvantaged students with scholarships, avoiding social injustice and aiding democratic and fair access to all. The monthly fees collected could be appropriate to re-equip public universities, their laboratories and libraries, and enhance teaching practices.


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[13]  Apple, M, Official knowledge: Democratic education in a conservative age. New York: NY: Routledge-Taylor & Francis. 2014.
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[14]  Oakes, J, “Untracking Advocates Make Incredible Claims”. Educational Leadership, 51 (2). 79-83. Oct. 1993.
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