‘The help never lasts’: why has Mexico’s education revolution failed?

8/15/2017 The Guardian 

Education was meant to be president Enrique Peña Nieto’s flagship policy. Yet salaries are still being paid to ‘ghost teachers’ who never enter a classroom, while children lack the tools – and even the food – they need to learn.

It’s almost four in the afternoon, and a quarter of the fifth-grade pupils at Ángel Albino Corzo primary school in Buena Vista haven’t eaten all day. The children are fidgety and distracted as their teacher explains decimals on the white board.

They are counting down the minutes until break time, when they will be given a small portion of beans with tortillas – for some, the only meal they will eat today (Mexico’s schooling is split into two distinct shifts; these children study from 1.30-6pm).

“How can they learn if they’ve not eaten and we haven’t got the right tools?” their teacher, Juan Carlos, asks later. He would like to use interactive online worksheets, but the computer lab is closed and there’s no internet. “There’s only so much we can do.”

Buena Vista is a bleak hillside community constructed on industrial wasteland in the sprawling State of Mexico, which wraps around the capital, Mexico City. Crime rates are so high here that in winter months, the school closes early as many children walk home alone. Police do not patrol the neighbourhood.

Read more… 

Arizona-Mexico Trade Comes in Education, Too

5/26/2017 Arizona Public Media

514073946_6dee91078d_b
Flickr/S. Friedberg

Jose Reyes Sanchez was driving through a farm about an hour outside of Mexico City as he listed the crops: pears, peaches and plums. Reyes, an engineering professor at the Autonomous University of Chapingo, then pointed to one of his favorite parts of the farm: a field of oats with a rotating 24-sprinkler irrigation machine dousing it with hundreds of gallons of water per minute.

“My students just took their final exam,” Reyes said. “And they had to get very wet because they had to measure the amount of water that each sprinkler emits.”

For years, Reyes has been taking undergraduate seniors on a field trip to California, Nevada and Arizona to learn more about water efficiency, with stops at companies such as the Tempe-based Salt River Project and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

And every year, one or two of Reyes’ students return to the University of Arizona to pursue graduate degrees from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Last year, they were part of the 81 graduate students from Mexico who enrolled at Arizona colleges with support from a Mexican government-funded scholarship aimed at boosting the ranks of scientists in their country. (That’s out of a combined graduate student enrollment of more than 20,000 at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.)

Read more…

Mexico’s lost generation of young girls robbed of innocence and education

5/2/2017 The Guardian

girlHundreds of thousands of young girls across Mexico are being driven into relationships and marriages with older men, denying them a childhood and an education, new research reveals.

Of the 320,000-plus Mexican girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who are cohabiting, nearly 70% are with a partner who is at least 11 years their senior, according to a report commissioned by the Ford Foundation.

The data represents part of a wider trend across Latin America, the only region in the world where child marriage is increasing rather than in decline.

Researchers found that 83% of married girls had left school, with the number rising to 92% among those living informally with a man. In contrast, just 15% of Mexican girls not in such relationships dropped out of school.

The findings, due to be published next month by a Mexico City-based research group, also show that 25,000 girls aged between 12 and 14 are living in “early unions”.

Read more…

Where Machismo Is Entrenched, Focus Moves to the Trenches

4/23/2017 New York Times

machismoMEXICO CITY — Machismo has long been widespread in Mexican society. Male entitlement — reflected in telenovelas, movies, work settings, families and romantic relationships — has been tolerated, even celebrated.

But times are changing for the Mexican macho man, or “machista.”

Soaring crime rates against women in recent years, and a strengthening women’s rights movement, have forced Mexicans to begin addressing machismo and the harm it does through sexism, misogyny and violence.

The effort got a boost on International Women’s Day last month, when President Enrique Peña Nieto called on Mexico “to launch a frontal assault against all expressions of machismo.” He urged the eradication of “a deeply rooted machista culture,” one that “ultimately and truly generates violence against women.”

Read more…

After the Storm in U.S.-Mexico Relations

3/31/2017 The Wilson Quarterly

Articles by Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Andrew Selee, Eric L. Olson, Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

The relationship between Mexico and the United States is facing its most severe test in decades. Although a new tone and new ideas are needed, the economic, political, and security fundamentals matter more than ever.

Browse the full Winter 2017 issue of Wilson Quarterly here…

Leveraging the U.S.-Mexico Relationship to Strengthen Our Economies, by Christopher Wilson

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico, by Andrew Selee

The Merida Initiative and Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations, by Eric L. Olson

U.S.-Mexico Energy and Climate Collaboration, by Duncan Wood

Toward a North American Foreign Policy Footprint, by Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

 

Mexico wants its kids speaking English as well as Spanish within 20 years

imrs.jpg
Rebecca Blackwell/AP

3/15/2017 The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — President Trump may want to wall off America’s southern neighbor, but Mexico is still happy to talk.

With an eye to making its population more competitive in the global economy, Mexico is pushing ambitious new plans to have all of its students speaking English as well as Spanish within two decades.

Mexican Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño said Monday night that he expects that every school could have an English teacher in 10 years and then wishes to pursue a longer-term goal to have all teachers fluent in English and Spanish. English classes would be provided for students from elementary through high school under the new plan.

Read more…

‘Invisible’ Children: Raised in the U.S., Now Struggling in Mexico

11/13/16 NPR Ed

Student by flickr user RightIndexChildren and teenagers of Mexican descent make up one of the fastest-growing populations in the nation’s public schools.

That’s a well-known statistic, but less known is that, in the last eight years, nearly 500,000 of these children have returned to Mexico with their families. Nine out of 10 are U.S. citizens because they were born in the U.S. That’s according to Mexican and U.S. government figures compiled by researchers with the University of California system, and the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

These families have returned to Mexico because of the economic downturn in the U.S. Many others were deported and had no choice but to take their U.S.-born children with them.

Read more…