oaxaca teachers march School's out.cnn

Education reform: did the government cave?

Teachers appear to have negotiated terms contrary to reforms

The federal government appears to be backtracking on education reform after giving in to Oaxaca teachers over advancement procedures, hiring new staff and paying out additional funds for salaries.

Section 22 of the CNTE union confirmed today that a meeting Wednesday in Mexico City ratified agreements concerning the manner in which administrative promotions will be made and the placement of new teachers fresh out of college.

The first will base a candidate’s qualifications for promotion — in part — on attendance at protest marches in Oaxaca or Mexico City. The second will see 920 new teaching positions filled automatically by this year’s graduates of the state’s 11 normal schools (or teacher training colleges).

The terms of both agreements conflict with new regulations stemming from education reform.

Last week the Institute for the Evaluation of Education warned Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué that the promotion scheme would not be permitted. On Wednesday, Cué denied that the practice had been agreed upon.

As for the automatic placement of teacher college graduates, a longstanding practice, it was eliminated through the introduction of an evaluation program in which each new teacher was to be assessed before being assigned a post.

This week’s accord with Section 22, which had mounted blockades in Oaxaca in support of its demands, was reached in a meeting with the Undersecretary of the Interior, Luis Enrique Miranda Nava.

It wasn’t clear whether representatives of the Public Education Secretariat were involved.

A report by The Economist says Education Secretary Emilio Chuayffet has declared that all children should have the same opportunities and that no state is above the law, but concludes that politics may win over policy. The Interior Secretariat is handling the issue, it suggests, because of the upcoming elections.

And it quotes analysts saying that the union has outmaneuvered the government by forcing it to pay additional school staff who probably should not be on the payroll.

Source: Excélsior (sp), The Economist (en)

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