Teachers' blockade at the lower house of Congress in Mexico City. Teachers' blockade at the lower house of Congress in Mexico City.

Teachers present their ‘social struggle’ education plan to AMLO

Union says president has promised to allow automatic allocation of jobs to teacher college grads

An alternative education plan presented to President López Obrador on Tuesday by the CNTE teachers’ union includes instruction on social struggle and civil disobedience and resistance.

Public school students must learn to “disobey and resist institutional, cultural and consumerist impositions,” the plan says.

It also states that because CNTE teachers work in Mexico’s poorest and most exploited states they require a curriculum that is critical of the prevailing power structures.

The teachers themselves must have a “humanist” and “emancipatory” perspective that allows them to break the model of traditional education.

The CNTE, a dissident union whose presence is strongest in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Michoacán, has also developed and distributed its own textbooks with a clear leftist ideological bent.

Critiques of the “neoliberal economic model” implemented in Mexico by past governments and biographies of former Cuban president Fidel Castro and revolutionary hero Che Guevara are among the content in the books.

The Education Secretariat last month issued a warning against the use of the alternative, ideologically loaded textbooks, while the conservative National Parents Union said that the CNTE plan was “dangerous” and amounted to indoctrination.

After Tuesday’s meeting with López Obrador and other federal officials, the CNTE said the government had agreed to a range of its demands including the automatic allocation of positions to graduates of teacher training colleges, called normal schools, and the payment of salaries and bonuses owed to teachers.

In Michoacán, where CNTE members staged a month-long strike earlier this year, teachers are owed an estimated 810 million pesos (US $41.7 million), the newspaper Reforma reported.

CNTE teachers and officials said they were confident that the government will sign agreements in the coming days that confirm the commitments it made to the union. The CNTE has maintained pressure on the López Obrador administration by staging protests this week at the lower house of Congress in Mexico City and in Michoacán, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

The president told reporters at his morning press conference on Thursday that the government is committed to opening more normal schools and ensuring that all students receive a job placement upon graduation.

Juan Melchor, a CNTE spokesman, said the president indicated that the automatic allocation of jobs to teaching students could be signed into law, which he said would be a “historic achievement.”

However, Marco Fernández, an education specialist at the Tec. de Monterrey, said that enshrining the right of teaching students to an automatic job upon graduation would violate the constitution.

“. . . Nowhere [in the constitution] does it talk about giving an automatic position to every normal school graduate,” he said.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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