There is a unique educational program that is being implemented in various countries which targets extremely poor children who have little opportunity to education. Called Bolsa Escola in Brazil, it has been heralded as a success in breaking the poverty cycle and increasing educational access and opportunities. This educational program has also been professed to do a variety of things such as decreasing child labor violations, and promoting health. This paper thus identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the Bolsa Escola program within the Federal District in Brazil where it was first piloted. The paper does this by using a mixed method evaluation to assess the program. First statistical data was gathered from both government and outside sources monitoring the program. Then additional independent studies were collected for further verification or to identify discrepancies. All of this quantitative data was combined to formulate questions for further research in the form of personal interviews with those closely working with the Bolsa Escola program at a variety of levels. This was then compared with my own observations within one school to see first hand how the program was affecting the students there. Additional interviews from teachers in the field were combined with my qualitative data with some interesting findings. The paper concludes that while the program has strayed from the original mission and became a behemoth of discombobulated befuddlement at times with political restructuring, and additional social programs attached, the program has had a positive effect on the lives of the children that are involved. Bolsa Escola has kept children in school and while it does not guarantee a way out of poverty it does indeed give those involved in the program an opportunity to improve their condition that they did not possess before.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_dockery/1/