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 Education Reform: Serious Setback

6/24/15 Latinvex

education - classroomGabriel Sánchez Zinny, president of 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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Central American migrants escape Mexico kidnapping

06/22/15 BBC

OaxacaDozens of Central American migrants say they have managed to escape from a gang that abducted them in southern Mexico.They migrants told police they had been held for hours by armed men who stopped their bus, but later fought back and broke free from their captors. Kidnappings are common in Mexico with gangs often abducting migrants and forcing them to join their ranks.Tens of thousands of migrants travel through Mexico on their way to the US every year.Many are forcibly recruited into gangs. Others are held until their families pay for their release.

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Mexico Temporarily Cancels Teacher Testing in Oaxaca, Michoacan

06/22/15 Telesur

oaxacaThe Mexican Secretariat for Public Education (SEP) announced Sunday it has suspended the teacher evaluations in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacan, saying “the necessary conditions” were not in place for the process to go ahead. The decision follows a series of protests and boycott threats by the teacher’s of the CNTE union, which staunchly opposes the proposed evaluation process. Authorities said the evaluations were conducted as planned in other states of Mexico like Chiapas and Guerrero, where dissident teachers also advised they would attempt to disrupt the process.

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U.S. Issues “Emergency Message” For Americans As Protests Escalate In Mexico’s Oaxaca State

06/05/15 Forbes

oaxacaOn Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued an “Emergency Message” warning  U.S. citizens in the Mexican Southern State of Oaxaca to keep away from mass demonstrations and exercise caution in anticipation of Sunday’s volatile mid-term elections.

In a message to Americans living or visiting Oaxaca, a state known for its indigenous cultures and pre-Hispanic crafts, the U.S. Embassy warned that “mass demonstrations are currently taking place in Oaxaca” and that “protesters entered the Oaxaca airport” forcing suspension of  incoming and outgoing flights Wednesday.

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$100 Mn Allocated to Poor Municipalities in Southern Mexico

Fox News Latino, 1/19/2015

currency - coinsThe Mexican government allocated 1.5 billion pesos (about $102.5 million) to support marginal municipalities in the poor southern states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the Finance and Public Credit Secretariat announced Monday.

In all, some 508 municipalities will benefit under the plan, the deadline for requesting funds from which is March 15, the institution said in a communique.

The terms and requirements to gain access to the resources contained in the Infrastructure and Productivity Support Fund, or FAIP, will be published by the secretariat in the country’s Official Gazette in the coming days.

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