SMU Tower Center launches unique research program for policy-based analysis of Texas-Mexico relationship

9/8/2015 Southern Methodist University

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is launching an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

The program is made possible through a $1 million gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation with global reach headquartered in Dallas.  The program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens. Plans include:

  • Texas-Mexico research, grants, reports, and white papers
  • Binational and bilingual annual conferences
  • Academic seminars and public forums

“Economics, energy, migration, culture, human capital, internet technology and cyber security are obvious topics for study, but the door is open,” said Juan Antonio González Moreno, Chairman and CEO of GRUMA. “We found in this program a tremendous opportunity to build a foundation for what should become the primary think tank on Texas-Mexico relations.” The list of potential topics is open to almost anything that impacts the relationship between Texas and Mexico.

Officials wrench control of schools back from radical union in Mexico’s restive Oaxaca state

9/4/15 US News

Student by flickr user RightIndexIt looked like a normal first day of school at Patria Libre elementary. Uniformed kids sporting brand-new backpacks with their favorite cartoon characters — Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, the “Frozen” heroines — reunited with classmates and sang the national anthem.

But that’s far from normal in Oaxaca, a Mexican state where teachers’ strikes and protests cost the average student 50 days out of the 200-day academic calendar last year, according to federal education officials.

Year after year, protesting teachers have blocked highways and cut off oil refineries. Residents of the capital have fled rocks and tear gas from clashes with police. And the city’s colonial plaza, one of the most picturesque in Mexico, is often filled with tent camps of demonstrators instead of tourists.

“Every year there has been a strike. … I’ve seen my kids falling behind, and we’ve had to support them at home so they can learn,” said Claudia Rodriguez Sosa, a 33-year-old mother of three students from pre- to high school.

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Mexico Takes On Militant Teachers in Oaxaca

8/20/15 The Wall Street Journaloaxaca

Mexico’s government is gaining the upper hand against a militant teacher’s group in the southern state of Oaxaca, an opponent that has long proved just as hard to corral as billionaire scofflaws and powerful drug cartels.

In recent weeks, the federal and state governments, seeking to implement a signal overhaul of education, fired and replaced some 300 members of a powerful group of dissident teachers from their management positions at Oaxaca’s education agency. The group, the National Coordinator of Educational Workers or CNTE, has for decades controlled hiring in public education there and in some of Mexico’s other poorest states, including through practices like selling teacher posts and engaging in violent and disruptive protests.

On Wednesday, pressure against the group mounted when Mexico’s attorney general office confirmed that two judges have ordered the arrest of 15 CNTE teachers in Oaxaca on charges of trying to disrupt June midterm parliamentary elections. Lawyers for the teachers say they will file for an injunction.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto gambles in key education reform

7/21/15 Financial Times

peña-nietoMexican federal riot police took up guard outside the education institute of the state of Oaxaca, as authorities embarked on a high-stakes gamble to implement the country’s key education reform after months of paralysis.

A faction of the dissident CNTE teachers’ movement has repeatedly clashed with police, blocked roads and staged strikes and other disturbances since the reform was passed in late 2013 in a bid to ensure its stranglehold on the education system in several states is not broken, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.

But in a surprise move, Oaxaca state governor Gabino Cué and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s spokesman announced that the State Public Education Institute of Oaxaca, known as IEEPO, was being scrapped, and that the state government would set up a new institute fully under its control.

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Mexican Attorney General to Reopen Ayotzinapa Investigation

7/10/15 teleSUR


The Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday it will resume its investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ training college. ​Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez met with relatives of the missing students for the first time in nearly four months. Relatives had previously broken off talks with the government after feeling frustrated with the course of the investigation. The Attorney General’s Office had considered the case closed in December, having determined that the missing students were killed and their bodies burnt after having been turned over to an organized crime group by municipal police.

However, the relatives of the forcibly disappeared students do not support the government’s conclusions and have alleged the government is engaging in a cover-up. The Attorney General’s Office agreed to pursue new lines of investigation, although Gomez did not specify what leads they would pursue.

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Mexican government wants to tame disruptive teachers’ union

07/06/15 The Washington Post

They have seized public plazas and filled them with sprawling tent cities. They have burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gasoline supply. They have held marches and torched ballots and closed schools for weeks at a time.

Mexico’s rowdy public school teachers’ union — particularly the branch based in the southern state of Oaxaca — has long been a thorn in the government’s side, as it wages its battle against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s restructuring of the education system.

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US now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more

06/30/15 The Guardian

dictionary_spanish_englishThe United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a new study published by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes.

The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million).

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