Teachers in rural Mexico are striking to block education reforms pushed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Peña Nieto’s first major legislative victory after taking office in December was a constitutional amendment eliminating Mexico’s decades-old practice of buying and selling teaching jobs, and replacing it with a standardized national teaching test. That’s heresy to a radical splinter union of elementary and high school teachers in Guerrero, one of the country’s poorest and worst-educated states. The teachers claim the test is a plot to fire them en masse as a step toward privatizing education, although there is little evidence the government plans that.
Reform advocates say the dissidents simply fear losing control over the state education system and the income it provides, despite the need to reform a system that eats up more of the budget and produces worse results than virtually any other in the world’s largest economies.
Armed vigilante groups have blocked highways and shut down store entrances in support of the teachers.
Parents are “plan to start giving their own lessons in parks, public squares and even restaurants,” reports the Wall Street Journal. However, the parents association is afraid of “reprisals from striking teachers.”