Teachers and teachers in training at a protest march yesterday in Morelia, Michoacán. Teachers and teachers in training at a protest march yesterday in Morelia, Michoacán.

Teachers in 4 states won’t work on Monday

The CNTE union says its members will strike until education reform has been abolished

The CNTE teachers’ union has vowed that none of its schools in four states — Michoacán, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas — will open Monday for the start of the new school year.

Chiapas union spokesman José Luis Escobar yesterday blamed the federal government for its “shortsightedness” and its failure to take the opportunity to “construct and design an educational project that we Mexicans need.”

He said parents are in support because they’re afraid that education will be privatized.

Talks have been under way for weeks between federal authorities and union representatives as the latter has sought to end a three-month-old conflict that has had a high economic cost, particularly in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Michoacán as teachers and allied organizations have blocked highways and railways and commercial centers.

The union has claimed that the government has agreed to many of its demands, but the government has been silent about the negotiations.

The teachers’ main demand has been the abrogation of education reforms, an action the government has repeatedly refused to take.

But that remains at the heart of the matter for the dissident teachers, who have been particularly dismayed by the evaluation process that the reforms have ushered in. Teachers in Oaxaca and Guerrero in particular have long been accustomed to being able to sell their posts or pass them along to family members, regardless of qualifications.

In Oaxaca, where the teachers’ strike could affect 1.3 million students, the Section 22 union local has agreed it will “hunt down” teachers who show up for work on Monday. And state education officials who attempt to track attendance will be pursued and their paperwork burned.

Instead of teaching on Monday, Section 22 said its members will march in the city of Oaxaca and reinstall blockades at more than 30 locations in the state.

Teachers in Chiapas also plan a march Monday in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, but some will be attending school to seek the support of parents, some of whom have said they want teachers to return to classes.

In addition to the abrogation of reforms, the CNTE is demanding the automatic hiring of graduates from teacher training colleges and the release of several teachers who are still in jail, whom they consider political prisoners.

Source: Milenio (sp), Reforma (sp)

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