Thursday, January 8, 2015
Mexican teachers flunk The Test by a large margin
Planned reforms to Mexico's decrepit primary and secondary educational systems were among the very first announced by the Institutional Revolutionary Party administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto after he took office on Dec. 1, 2012. They passed the lower legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados, by a vote of 390-69 on Sept. 2, 2013 and they cleared the Senate 24 hours later on a vote of 102-22. The constitutionally based reforms prohibit the buying, selling and bequeathing of teaching positions, and will require all new hires to pass a preparedness and competency evaluation beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. Even vested teachers will be subject to periodic retesting. Those who are unable to meet education standards after two attempts will be transferred to administrative positions, or dismissed.
This week Mexico's Dept. of Education (SEP) reported that almost 60% of applicants who recently sat for the competency exam were determined to be unqualified for a permanent teaching post. All had either graduated from teachers' colleges, or had at least 10 years experience as substitute or interim instructors.
A total of 16,283 applicants took the first of three tests designed to determine their suitability for the classroom. Only 6,564 passed the initial threshold, while 9,719 failed. The successful teachers will now move on to additional evaluations, in accord with the 2013 federal education reforms. They are competing for about 6,000 full time and part time teacher openings across the nation. Those who are ultimately hired will be on three year's probation before they're offered a formal employment contract.
SEP officials said that the 59.7% who failed "did not possess sufficient knowledge to adequately discharge the duties of a teacher."
The states with the worst performing applicants were Nayarit (95% failed), Tabasco (83%) and Hidalgo (77%). Federal District (Mexico City) teachers enjoyed the highest pass rate (50%). The examinations and evaluations were designed and administered by the National Institute for the Evaluation of Education, a new agency created under the 2013 reform legislation.
The states of Chiapas, Michoacán, Oaxaca and Sonora continue to resist the reforms, insisting that they will run their own educational systems. The administration sued them in April 2014 to compel compliance. In Oaxaca, the powerful leftist oriented teachers' union Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) has openly defied the federal and state governments over the reforms, frequently engaging in civil disobedience or outright violence. Oaxaca school teachers again abandon their students.
In 2012 Mexico devoted 6.2% of its $1.78 trillion dollar GDP to education, and school teachers received an astounding 93% of those funds in salaries and direct benefits. But the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks Mexico 34 out of 36 member nations for quality of education.
Last August a Mexican education evaluation commission reported that 60% of Mexican high school graduates have little reading comprehension, and only elementary math skills.
Aug. 13, 2013 - Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate
2013 education reforms
Apr. 11 - Illiteracy, rudimentary education hold back 40% of Mexico
Aug. 19 - Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca
Aug. 29 - Teachers' union calls for nationwide strike
Aug. 31 - Oaxaca freezes pay of striking teachers
Sept. 2 - Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms
Sept. 3 - Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill, as labor unions threaten civil disobedience
Sept. 4 - Oaxaca governor holds tough and refuses to pay dissident teachers
Sept. 6 - School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"
Sept. 12 - Yucatán teachers fold, agree to return to the schoolhouse
Oct. 15 - Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers
Oct. 31 - Teachers return to Guadalajara streets, protesting alleged education privatization
An anti-reform demonstration by Guadalajara teachers in 2013 fizzled
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at 4:36 PM