How El Sistema turned into a musical Starbucksmain
In a review today in the Wall Street Journal, I argue that the greatest success of the Venezuelan education system is its global branding. But many of its claims for social improvement lack verifiable substance and the system’s slogans have alarming echoes of Soviet education in Stalin’s day.
Although El Sistema is not overtly political, its slogan is “to play and to struggle,” with an emphasis on “hard work” and “joy,” slogans that echo Soviet collectivization. Its dogma is equality and inclusion, and its methods involve teaching children in groups to play rhythms, read notes and cooperate with one another. “In ensemble they learn collegiality as an incubator for selfhood within community…”
Read the full review here.