Mexico prepares to fire 100s of striking teachers

In today’s earlier post on Mexico, legal scholar John Ackerman spoke eloquently about the rebellion to neoliberal education reforms by teachers from the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación [CNTE] union.

Now comes word that the Mexican government is preparing to fire hundreds oif the strikers.

From teleSUR English:

Deepening neoliberal education reforms, Mexican government officials plan to fire or lay off more than 350 teachers in the southern state of Guerrero, even as they prepare to continue negotiations Monday with striking parents, teacher and activists in the state of Oaxaca who have been protesting similar school reforms for weeks.

Leaders of the country’s national teachers union, known by the Spanish acronymn, CNTE, have called for another massive demonstration Monday afternoon, marching from the presidential palace in Mexico City to the Interior Ministry, where union negotiators will meet for a fourth time with government education officials. At issue are the neoliberal education reforms implemented in 2013 by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The CNTE contends that the measures, which greatly expand the testing of teachers, have failed to improve student education, and demand an overhaul to the national classroom model.

The three previous meetings between the union and Interior Minister Osorio Chong have failed to bear meaningful results, and CNTE officials say that concrete steps need to be taken to break the impasse.

But the government seems to be taking steps in the opposite direction. According to the Mexican daily La Jornada, education officials resumed rolling out their neoliberal agenda over the weekend — after a brief hiatus to ensure peaceful local elections last month — annoucing a new wave of over 500 mandatory teacher performance evaluations in Guerrero, one of the states where the CNTE’s presence is strongest.

Teachers contend that the evaluations are punitive, and some have boycotted the move. Government officials say that they will now fire 220 teachers in Guerrero for missing their reviews as far back as seven months ago, while another 123 are scheduled to be laid off for missing classes while striking. Dozens more face tens of thousands of dollars in salary deductions for failing to show up for class

But talks with the government continue. . .

While the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto is brandishing the stick, it’s also be proferring a small carrot.

More from teleSUR English:

Striking Mexican teachers have made preliminary progress in talks with government officials, agreeing in the fourth meeting on Monday evening to a roadmap for next steps in the negotiations as protests in at least 10 municipalities across five states continued to put pressure on authorities with demands to overhaul education policies, local media reported.

After nearly four hours of talks — considerably shorter than the previous marathon meetings lasting into the early hours of the morning — Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong announced that the two sides of the conflict had reached a deal scheduling three more sessions over the next two weeks focused on the political, educational, and social issues behind the conflict.

Leaders of the CNTE national teachers union leading the strike said that the new talks involve discussions on President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2013 education reform. The reform is staunchly rejected by the dissident teachers, who call it a neoliberal assault on public education that includes punitive measures toward educators. The first four negotiation sessions have not touched the subject of the controversial reforms, while the Peña Nieto and Education Minister Aurelio Nuño have insisted that the policies are not up for debate.


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