Teachers Are Rebelling Against the Government of Mexico

A recent article by Reuters points out for example, that a secondary school teacher in Mexico City paid $23,000 for a lifelong position, which she acquired from a retiring teacher, who then paid the union for the job to be transferred.

Union control over the teacher hiring process currently makes it almost impossible for the Mexican government to fire teachers who underperform. Education NGOs also claim that unions are using state funds set aside for education to pay off thousands of employees who hold office jobs and conduct no teaching duties whatsoever.

Supporters of the Mexican government say that the new education law would eliminate such practices by creating a national merit based system for hiring teachers, which would be monitored by the federal government.

The education law would also improve standards by allowing the government to fire teachers who do not pass standardized tests.

However, implementing this part of the law could be challenging, as recent testing efforts suggest that a great number of teachers would fail these tests.

In arecent test which was administered to 264,000 primary school teachers by Mexico's Education Ministry for example, 38% of the country's teachers scored so low, that the government said these teachers required "immediate attention." In other words, they failed the test.

What happens next?

The main framework for Mexico's education reform was approved earlier this year, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said that it will not go through any major changes, despite the disruptive protests in Guerrero.

What is being discussed now are the details of how the law will be implemented, with congress looking over things like how standardized tests will be administered, and how the new hiring process for teachers will work.

Teachers unions might be able to have some input in this debate. In Oaxaca for example, the local branch of the National Education Worker's Union has received some support from the local governor, who has sent an alternate education reform proposal to the Mexican Congress, that suggests making tests different for the poorer southern Mexican states.

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