Education in Oaxaca has become a lucrative family business for Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), according to an analysis of government data by the newspaper Milenio. Although the dissident teachers’ union boasts of its horizontal structure, the reality is quite different, judging by the numbers from the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) database.
The best positions within the education structure of the state are split among just a few families, the members of which earn seven-figure salaries and occupy more than one position, without having to show up for work. Such luxuries are reserved for Section 22 leaders.
The SEP database, made public for the first time earlier this year after the education reforms were enacted, offers detailed information including the names and salaries of over 90,000 Oaxaca teachers, data that Section 22 had always kept secret.
The wage structure of the union local is best described as a pyramid: wealth is concentrated in a few hands instead of being distributed equitably, in contrast with the union’s official line which defends a socialist economy as a viable alternative to capitalism.
The pyramid structure can be divided into five different levels: a small elite of 12 teachers is found at the top and each earns 170,000 pesos, or US $11,150, per month.
At the next level are 85 teachers who earn 100,000 to 133,000 pesos monthly, which is where most of Section 22’s executive committee can be found. Beneath them are 670 teachers whose wages range from 66,000 to 88,000 pesos per month.
At the fourth level are 5,000 teachers, among whom are the union’s regional leaders, and they earn between 33,000 and 66,000 pesos.
At the bottom of the pyramidal structure of Section 22 are the masses, those who are present at the marches and demonstrations, but earn the least: they number 84,000 teachers who earn between 5,000 and 16,000 a month.
The union’s leadership is made up of 34 teachers, 26 of whom hold two different jobs, enjoying two salaries while rarely stepping inside a classroom as their focus is mainly union affairs.
In Oaxaca, the top 12 teachers earn three times more than a public school principal in Japan, and three times more than an average teacher in the U.K or the U.S.
Milenio’s investigation also revealed that thousands of positions within the education system of Oaxaca are split amongst a small number of families who have made education a full-time, profitable business.
The analysis shows that, as with politics in general in Mexico, the best positions are reserved for a few, dynastic families.
Source: Milenio/Víctor Hugo Michel (sp)