Monday, September 2, 2013

Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms

*Updated Sept. 3*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's Cámara de Diputados, the lower chamber of congress, approved a package of sweeping educational reforms late Sunday evening on an easy vote of 390 to 69.

The reforms are based upon federal constitutional amendments which were passed earlier this year.

The most critical measure, and the one most resisted by teachers' unions, will establish a federal agency for the evaluation of educators. The agency's primary duty will be to set uniform minimum teaching qualifications applicable across Mexico, and to administer periodic competency and preparedness examinations based on national, rather than local or regional, standards.

The new agency will ultimately determine who is fit to be in the classroom, and who isn't. The goal of the legislation is to take education out of the hands of unions and place it in a centralized authority not subject to syndicate influences or local political pressures.

In some states of the Mexican republic teachers' unions have a stranglehold over every aspect of education at the primary and secondary levels, even controlling community school boards. Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate.

The reforms have enjoyed widespread multiparty support across the Mexican political spectrum, despite labor's opposition. Mexico's Senate will take up the same package on Tuesday, where confirmation is also expected.

On Sunday one of the most powerful teachers' unions, the Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), announced plans for a major demonstration in Mexico City on Wednesday, while calling for a "national labor insurgency" in an effort to compel legislators to retract the education reforms. Teachers' union calls for nationwide strike.

In Oaxaca students remain out of class for the third consecutive week, with no end to the work stoppage in sight. It's back to school day in Mexico, but continued teacher strikes idle a million.

Sept. 2 - Mexico's senate offices and surrounding grounds have been sealed tonight in anticipation of tomorrow's debate and vote on the education reform package approved last night by the Cámara de Diputados. Union demonstrators have been advancing towards the area for hours, but security forces don't intend to allow them inside a secure perimeter.

Sept. 3 - Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill; unions threaten civil disobedience in capital
Mexico's federal congress has 128 senators and 500 deputies.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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