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 5, 2013
The New York Times, 9/5/2013
took a major step this week toward instituting evaluations of public schoolteachers and ending their practice of buying and inheriting their posts, but analysts said violent protests by teachers had led Congress to include provisions in the new legislation that might undermine the overhaul.
Shoring up the flagging education system has been a pillar of President
’s efforts to advance the country economically and move more people into the middle class. Analysts had closely watched the progress of the legislation as a sign of his ability to move forward on revamping the telecommunications and energy industries.
September 4, 2013
Associated Press via The Washington Post, 9/4/2013
Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly passed a sweeping 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 Senate voted 102-22 in favor of a standardized system of test-based hiring and promotion that would give the government the tools to break teachers’ unions’ near-total control of school staffing. That control includes the corrupt sale and inheritance of teaching jobs and it has been widely blamed for much of the poor performance of Mexican schools, which have higher relative costs and worse results than any other in the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
April 26, 2013
The New York Times, 4/25/13
One of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s signature efforts to shake up the country — a broad plan to overhaul the education system — has run into violent protests that underscore how difficult it may be to carry out, particularly in some volatile states with poor academic performance. Armed with iron rods and rocks, dozens of masked members of the teachers’ union in Guerrero State attacked the local offices of the four major political parties on Wednesday, smashing windows and overturning furniture. They also set fire to the office of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to which Mr. Peña Nieto belongs.
On Thursday, in a further sign of the growing conflict over education changes, teachers marched down Mexico City’s main boulevard, temporarily closing it down. The education overhaul, which transfers power from the potent teachers’ union to the federal government, proposes periodic teacher evaluations to determine appointments, salaries and dismissals — a major adjustment for workers who are accustomed to buying or inheriting their positions and who have had, until now, virtual immunity from the state.
Click here for pictures and video of the riots.
April 16, 2013
Associated Press, 4/14/13
Easter vacation was over, but there wasn’t a teacher in sight at the boarding school for indigenous children on the edge of this sunbaked southern Mexico hill town. A 37-year-old cook who hadn’t finished high school sat between two little girls on a cement stoop outside the kitchen, peering at their dog-eared notebooks as they struggled with the alphabet and basic multiplication. “I’ve got the children here. If there aren’t any classes while they’re here, I have to teach them,” said the cook, who shared only her first name, Gudelia, for fear of retaliation from striking teachers.
A short drive away, teachers marched by the thousands through the streets of the state capital, some masked and brandishing metal bars and sticks in an escalating showdown over education reform that’s become a key test of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping project to reform Mexico’s most dysfunctional institutions.
April 15, 2013
Fox News Latino, 4/14/13
Teachers marched by the thousands through the streets of the state capital, some masked and brandishing metal bars and sticks in an escalating showdown over education reform that’s become a key test of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s attempt at sweeping reforms of Mexico’s most dysfunctional institutions.
The fight is dominating headlines in Mexico and freezing progress on a national education reform that Peña Nieto hoped would build momentum toward more controversial changes. Those include opening the state-owned oil company to foreign and private investment and broadening Mexico’s tax base, potentially with the first-ever sales tax on food and medicine.
April 11, 2013
By Carlos Puig, The New York Times, 4/11/13
When the federal policeman approached the strikers, they started to sing the national anthem. “I am Mexican,” the policeman told them. “You are Mexican. But there are thousands of Mexicans behind me who just want to get on their way. So I am asking you to free at least one lane — just one lane.”
It was 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and the middle of the highway that goes from Mexico City to sunny Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero. For two hours a group of some 2,000 teachers from Guerrero had been blocking traffic both ways. Two weeks earlier, at the beginning of the most important vacation of the year, the teachers staged a protest on the same highway for more than nine hours, creating chaos for travelers.