September 25, 2013
Smart Planet, 9/25/2013
Investors worldwide saw in Mexico a new global economic darling when the reform-minded administration of Enrique Pena Nieto returned the country’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to power on December 1. Optimism over structural reforms including education, telecommunications and energy, and taxation underpinned the widespread predictions that Mexico was the new Brazil. Such lofty expectations have been scrapped, at least for this year, as external and internal factors have held Mexico back.
September 18, 2013
Miami Herald, 9/18/2013
In simultaneous moves that went almost unnoticed in the rest of the world, Mexico and Brazil passed historic education reforms last week that, if carried out as planned, could help propel Latin America’s biggest countries to the First World in coming decades.
The key question is whether the Mexican and Brazilian people will keep up the pressure on their governments to improve the quality of their educational systems, because politicians will only enforce rules that are opposed by teachers unions if they feel social pressure to do so. Mexico and Brazil’s new education laws are historic, but the battle to achieve world-class education systems is just beginning.
September 13, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 9/13/2013
Possible good news for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto: A leader of a striking teachers union whose campouts and roadblocks have wreaked havoc on this chaotic capital for weeks suggested Thursday that the group would probably clear out of the historic main square to allow the president to issue the famous “Cry of Independence” there Sunday evening.
Francisco Bravo, the leader of a branch of the striking National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, said in a radio interview that “all signs indicate that we’re leaving” the massive tent city that the group erected weeks ago in the Zocalo, or central square, according to the news service Milenio.
September 9, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 9/9/2013
President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is trying to push through a series of economic and social overhauls, was buoyed on Sunday by a lower-than-expected turnout of demonstrators protesting his strategy.
The protesters, led by former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, marched in an organized effort to stop the president’s planned energy-sector overhaul and to defend Mexican nationalism. But the populist managed to draw only about 40,000 people, say Mexico City police—far fewer than he predicted and what he has marshaled in the past.
September 9, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 9/9/2013
In recent weeks, thousands of members of a feisty teachers union have descended upon Mexico City, blocking streets to protest an education reform measure that includes a controversial new scheme for evaluating teachers. Last weekend, they were joined by thousands more people who oppose Peña Nieto’s plan to open the state-owned oil company, a longtime source of national pride, to foreign investment.
September 6, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English-language press had to say…
This week the press largely covered the approval of the Education Reform in the midst of the teachers’ protests. Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly passed a reform of the notoriously dysfunctional public school system early Wednesday, handing President Enrique Pena Nieto an important victory in his push to remake some of his country’s worst-run institutions.
The New York Times noted that despite being considered a major step toward instituting evaluations of public schoolteachers and ending their practice of buying and inheriting their posts, analysts allege violent protests by teachers had led Congress to include provisions in the new legislation that might undermine the overhaul. The pressure resulted in concessions that “diluted key aspects” of the original plan like the provision that mandatory evaluations would remain confidential.
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September 6, 2013
The Associated Press via The Washington Post, 9/6/2013
Teachers angry over the passage of a national education reform partially blocked the main approach to Mexico City’s airport Thursday, forcing many passengers to leave their cars and rush through the streets on foot to catch flights.
Hundreds of police guarded the airport to prevent the members of a dissident teachers union from blocking other entrances. Airport management advised passengers to take alternate routes to the airport, including the subway.
September 6, 2013
The Economist, 9/6/2013
“MEXICAN presidents used to go to Congress on September 1st waving at the people in the streets like Stalin passing through Red Square. Soon they’ll be addressing the nation from a bunker.” So Lorenzo Meyer, a leftist Mexican historian, satirised Enrique Peña Nieto’s first state-of-the-nation address on September 2nd. The president delivered it not to a full house of Congress, as used to be common, nor in the National Palace. Instead—a day later than originally scheduled—he addressed a select audience under a canopy outside his home. From there his televised message was broadcast nationwide.
It must have been galling. In a country that once invested so much power in its leaders it was dubbed “the perfect dictatorship”, September is the month of most presidential pomp. Two weeks after his speech to the nation, Mr Peña is due to deliver the annual “grito”, or cry of independence, from the balcony of the National Palace. But the balcony is boarded up for security, and anyone trying to get there has to trip over the tents and tarpaulins of thousands of striking teachers who are camped in the Zócalo, as the central plaza is called, protesting against Mr Peña’s education reforms.
September 5, 2013
The Washington Post, 9/5/2013
Lawmakers approved a major overhaul of Mexico’s public education system early Wednesday, giving President Enrique Peña Nieto a crucial victory in his drive to fix some of the country’s most dysfunctional institutions.
Mexican senators voted 102 to 22 for a package of measures that will establish a standardized testing system for evaluating teacher performance and hiring faculty, ending the corrupt practices that allowed union bosses to buy and sell classroom jobs and pad their pockets at the expense of students.
September 5, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 9/5/2013
Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly approved a controversial education bill early Wednesday, setting the stage for a fresh round of street protests by teachers’ groups which threaten to block airports, highways and other key economic hubs across the country.
The Senate voted 102-22 to adopt legislation that will make teachers submit to periodic performance exams, which could lead to the dismissal of those who refuse to take them. The bill was already approved by Mexico’s lower house of Congress on Sunday night. The overhaul is supported by Mexico’s main teachers union, known as the SNTE. But it sparked an angry response from a dissident teachers’ group known as the National Coordinator of Educational Workers, or CNTE, which vowed to wage a “national teachers’ insurgency” that has crowded Mexico City’s streets with protests and marches over the past two weeks.