This chapter examines how the dynamic relationship between a society and its school system reflects a historical context, powerfully influenced by the contrasting nature of the groups and ideologies in government. In the first section, People see how the different institutional domains, actors, and ideologies have defined, very generally, the school system's position and key functions in society. In the second section they discusses the main continuities and changes in the way the school system has been organized, and its resources distributed. The educational system which this elite organized was developed in a situation where mass illiteracy was the basic cultural condition. In the last two decades, Chile has seen three comprehensive and markedly differing attempts at changing its economic base and the principles of its national ethos. Education was able to achieve this pre-eminence through the very close links between the state and the social and political forces supporting educational developments.