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Chilean students stage protests

center_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too “I believe the education effort must be infinitely more integrating, more inclusive and take care of the quality, of the barriers that block access to financing, of the segregation,” Bachelet told the weekly newspaper The Clinic in an interview published on Thursday.“Chile is one of the most segregating countries when it comes to education,” said Bachelet, who is widely seen as the center-left’s opposition best hope of winning the election.Dueling visions of Chilean education emerged during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship.Chile’s schools were free before Pinochet pushed privatization and ended central control and funding of primary and secondary schools. Public education in poorer districts suffered even as a voucher system directed billions of dollars in public funds to privately-run high schools.Many Chilean families bore these burdens for years before student activists gave them a voice.Although Bachelet’s popularity ratings remain high, many students remain skeptical of her promises after being disappointed when they failed to achieve deep reforms during her first term.Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne and former Defense Minister Andres Allamand are seen as front runners for the center-right ruling coalition in the presidential race. Regardless of who wins, the next president will need to address one of the most contentious issues in Chile.“If Congress and the government doesn’t put on their pants and act once and for all,” said Valeska Concha, a student and spokeswoman for the Mesup private higher education movement. “This movement will continue to give it a lot of headaches.”__Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: Comments   Share   (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Tens of thousands of students flooded the streets of Chile on Thursday in one of the largest demonstrations demanding free education.After two years of student marches that have paralyzed Chile’s major cities and generated expectations of change to a troubled system, the crisis over education reform remains a key electoral issue ahead of November’s presidential election.Thursday’s protests were mostly peaceful. Students waved flags, chanted slogans and danced in the streets in a festive atmosphere recalling the creative marches of 2011, when thousands dressed as superheroes, staged mass kiss-ins and danced like zombies to Michael Jackson’s `Thriller.’ Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img