Mexican Teacher Protests Turn Up Heat on President

Policia MexicoThe 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.

Read more…

Click here for pictures and video of the riots.


Mexican drug lord appears on teachers’ payroll

Associated Press, 12/8/2010

An alleged drug cartel leader appears on the Mexican government’s 2010 teacher payroll as part of the staff of an elementary school in a rural town, according to the federal education department’s website.

Payroll documents posted on the website show that checks totaling about $4,000 were issued to Servando Gomez, a reputed leader of the La Familia cartel, during the first three months of the year for teaching at Melchor Ocampo Elementary School in his hometown of Arteaga in Michoacan state.

Michoacan’s education department said its files show that they began canceling payment checks to Gomez in June 2009, when the department conducted “a thorough review of its payroll,” the department said in a statement.

Read more…