Public school teachers in Brazil often work at more than one school in order to cobble together a full-time pay check.
Most public school students in Brazil are in class for about four hours each day. In an effort to get more kids studying full-days, cities like Rio are rushing to build more schools.
Primary school quality in the world's No. 7 economy ranks below impoverished Haiti. But galvanizing Brazilians to boost education for all is no easy task.
Bus drivers in Rio have already gone on strike, and teachers may do the same. Some say other groups - including the federal police - could strike as well amid World Cup attention and the leadup to elections.
The opulent Teatro Amazonas opera house still stuns visitors to Manaus. It's a legacy of the rubber boom and the region’s short-lived monopoly on worldwide production.
Northeast Brazil used to be known for poverty and migration south. But locals like Maria Joelma da Silva, who the Monitor first met in 2008, are redefining the region.
Brazil's favelas are often associated with violence and crime, but that's only part of the story.
Income inequality has bred gaps in public health in Brazil where a community-based program first piloted in the 1980s now offers health services and advice to those most in need.
After troops stormed Maré favela over the weekend as part of Rio's security strategy, Brazil's 'pacification program' is coming under increased scrutiny.
With a new generation of Brazilians entering college and the working world, many see fresh challenges to accepted class lines.
Reactions in the region have ranged from name calling to accusations of Russian meddling to observations of declining world powers.
Striking trash workers in Rio were able to pressure the government for better wages during Carnival. With the World Cup quickly approaching, other sectors may try to follow their example.
Whether it's chasing after a thief, hunting down a suspect, or seeing a criminal nearly getting lynched by a crowd, you'll find examples of vigilantism even in Brazil's biggest cities.
Unleashing soldiers across Latin America may seem like an incongruity in a region that suffered from decades of military dictatorships and wars, but with drug-related violence on the rise, some nations say there's no other option.
Some 400 displaced squatters from an informal settlement razed in downtown São Paulo this month will be funneled into motel rooms and state-run treatment programs.
In recent months, Facebook-organized teen gatherings at malls in São Paulo have caused protest that's fractured Brazilians along class lines.
From elections to transportation fare increases and potentially renewed protests, 2014 promises big stories to watch across Brazil.
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden wrote in an open letter to Brazil that he can't speak freely unless he has political asylum. Snowden is currently living in Russia.