Chile’s ‘Machuca’ Students: Long-term Effects of Social Integration in Elite Schools

Improving equity within the Chilean educational system has been a central policy debate over the last 15 years. An emergent proposed reform in this vein has been nicknamed La Ley Machuca (“The Machuca Law”), a policy that would mandate that elite, private (i.e. tuition-supported) schools in Chile reserve a designated number seats for disadvantaged students. The policy bears the name of a film, Machuca, which tells the story of a socio-economic integration program that was undertaken in the 1970s by the Congregation of Holy Cross at Saint George’s College.

This study, led by Fr. Tim Scully, CSC, TJ D'Agostino, Fr. Cristóbal Madero, SJ, and Nicolás Somma uses mixed-methods to examine the life-trajectories and long-term outcomes (economic, social, civic, and religious) of students involved in the social integration experience at Saint George's College in the 1970s. It explores the program’s long-term quantitative impact, as well as students' experiences, perceptions of the program, how it shaped their lives, and advice for designing such a program today. The project links scholars from the fields of political science, sociology, and education and explores questions of justice and equity as they relate to the mission of Catholic schools and the long-term implications of social integration, addressing themes across multiple fields in the social sciences.

The project has received research grant support from the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and from a Luksic Family Collaboration Grant (Notre Dame International).

Read more about the project in this news story.