Mexico Agrees to Revise Teacher Evaluation

07/14/16 The New York Times 

AurelioNuñoMEXICO CITY — The Mexican government will undertake a revision of the evaluation exam given to all teachers, which has been a focal point of protests, officials said Wednesday.

Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño announced the agreement on the same day that government officials were to hold their first working group meeting with representatives of the teachers. He said officials together with the national teachers union will make changes that better recognize the country’s regional differences.

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Peña Nieto faces tough lessons over Mexico teachers’ protests

07/12/2017 Financial Times

pena nieto wefIn a failing school system in which more than half of 15-year-olds cannot master basic maths, the reform is one of the most significant of the policy changes pushed through by Mr Peña Nieto in his first two years in office. Mexico’s students are among the worst performers in the OECD, so the reforms are critical to improving poor productivity and vaulting Mexico into the big league of world economies.

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Six Killed, Dozens Injured as Teachers, Police Clash in Southern Mexico

06/20/2016 The Wall Street Journal

oaxacaMEXICO CITY—Six protesters were killed and dozens of protesters and police were injured Sunday in clashes in southern Mexico when security forces cleared roads being blocked by members of a teachers’ group, Oaxaca state authorities said.

The clashes occurred as state and federal police sought to unblock a highway in southern Oaxaca state which the CNTE, a dissident faction of the national teachers union, had blocked to protest the arrests last week of several of the group’s leaders.

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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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Mexico Education Reform: Serious Setback

6/24/15 Latinvex

education - classroomGabriel Sánchez Zinny, president of Kuepa.com: While the Mexican government and the teachers’ unions keep fighting over proposed education reforms, students’ ability to find a good job and develop a competitive skillset to prosper in their careers is being irrevocably damaged. Students from Oaxaca, where some of the main union resistance is located, and other states, will finish only 80 days of classes, compared with more than the 180 days in other countries. In an increasingly automated, on-demand sharing economy, the competition for talent in the 21st century is global, and Mexican youth will be at a clear disadvantage with respect to the their peers in other countries. Teachers’ unions and political leaders should care. As Martin Ford states in his recent book, ‘The Rise of the Robots,’ ‘as more and more routine white-collar jobs fall to automation in countries throughout the world, it seems inevitable that competition will intensify to land one of the dwindling number of positions that remain beyond the reach of the machines.’ Today, more than 70 percent of jobs require some use of technology, the contract between employer and employee is broken, and learning to adapt and change is a critical skill for moving up in an increasingly mobile labor force. In this context, Mexico, where less than 15 percent of young people graduate from university, more than 50 percent drop out of high school, and the quality of education is low, the debate between the teachers unions’ and political leaders over halting education reform sounds flawed and outdated.

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After president’s first year, Mexico still a mess by many measures

Los Angeles Times, 12/1/2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2To President Enrique Peña Nieto’s supporters, his first year in office has been a time of bold promises kept as he pursues an ambitious agenda of reforms designed, in the long term, to bring peace and economic growth to Mexico.

But in the short term, by many measures, his country remains a mess. Though he promised to focus on Mexico’s economic potential, Peña Nieto has presided over an economy that has hardly grown at all. Though he vowed to reduce the kind of violence that affects innocent citizens, his record has been mixed, with kidnappings and extortion rising nationwide even as the number of homicides drops.

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How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

Wired, 10/15/2013

education - children poverty - EcuadorJosé Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs. There are regular shoot-outs, and it’s not uncommon for locals to find bodies scattered in the street in the morning. To get to the school, students walk along a white dirt road that parallels a fetid canal. On a recent morning there was a 1940s-era tractor, a decaying boat in a ditch, and a herd of goats nibbling gray strands of grass. A cinder-block barrier separates the school from a wasteland—the far end of which is a mound of trash that grew so big, it was finally closed down. On most days, a rotten smell drifts through the cement-walled classrooms. Some people here call the school un lugar de castigo—“a place of punishment.”

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