Educar para la bobada 06:32 Jan 08 0 comments
Ateismo diventa materia scolastica in Irlanda 16:59 Sep 27 0 comments
Cornelius Castoriadis – on the content of socialism (part 2) 14:24 Mar 24 0 comments
Cornelius Castoriadis – on the content of socialism (part 1) 16:59 Mar 23 0 comments
México: Algo sobre el tercer cacicazgo del SNTE 22:14 Oct 30 0 commentsmore >>
Recent articles by Scott Campbell
The APPO two years on 0 commentsRecent Articles about North America / Mexico Education
Under Attack, Mexico’s Teachers Fight Back Against Neoliberal ‘Reforms’
north america / mexico | education | news report Saturday September 14, 2013 06:12 by Scott Campbell
Along with attacks from the police, the teachers have been under siege from all sides.
With the state pushing reform forward, the National Representative Assembly of the CNTE decided to call off the beginning of the school year and declared an indefinite work stoppage starting on August 19. They called for a massive convergence in the Zócalo and for more than three weeks, over 40,000 teachers from all corners of Mexico have reinforced the encampment, turning the Zócalo into a tent and tarp city.
On December 1, 2012, while protests were being brutally repressed in the streets, Enrique Peña Nieto addressed Mexico for the first time as the country’s newly-anointed president. He outlined the five main goals of his administration and announced ten “presidential decisions” to achieve them. To reach his third goal of “quality education for all,” Peña Nieto stated he had decided to pursue a program of educational reform requiring the modification of the constitution and the establishment of a national evaluation system for teachers. And in doing so, Peña Nieto — the Butcher of Atenco and the signed, sealed and delivered choice of the ruling elite — made clear his intention to target education and take on Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE).
The neoliberalization of educationThe attack on education did not begin with Peña Nieto. In recent years, Mexico’s teachers have seen the imposition of a nationwide standardized test, ENLACE; reforms to privatize and reduce the benefits available to teachers and other federal employees through the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE); and, an attempt by previous president Felipe Calderón and SNTE boss Elba Esther Gordillo (now in prison for corruption) to exert more federal control over teachers through the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE) scheme.
The basis for Peña Nieto’s reforms can be found in a 2010 agreement Mexico signed with the neoliberal Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which in part stated, “Mexico urgently needs a standards-based teacher evaluation system…to reward excellent teachers or support lower-performing teachers. Teachers who permanently display a low level of performance should be excluded from the education system.”
Publicly supported in his efforts by pro-business lobbying groups such as Mexicanos Primero and the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX), Peña Nieto set out to implement the OECD agreement and then some.
The constitutional modifications and regulatory laws change Articles 3 and 73 of Mexico’s Constitution. Together, they create a standardized system of teacher evaluation, as well as granting schools “autonomy” — that is, autonomy to raise funds from the private sector — in other words, to become privatized.
A standardized evaluation system that is imposed from above without the input of teachers, yet at the same time placing the fault for low scores solely on teachers’ shoulders, is extremely problematic. The attempt to create a monocultural, one-size-fits-all education system that produces a certain type of student, as Gallo Téenek notes, “doesn’t, knowing the cultural diversity that exists, take into account the reality and local conditions of each of the regions, municipalities, communities and states in the country, as well as the inequality and poverty that prevail throughout the nation — for example, in regions of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, contrary to the better conditions that exist in cities such as Monterrey, Guadalajara and the Federal District.”
The second major aspect of the reform, making schools “autonomous,” opens up each school to be directly influenced by capital. As CNTE Section 22 from Oaxaca explains in a letter to parents, “Parents will have to pay for the education of their children, since the federal government has disowned its responsibility to maintain schools, meaning it will not send funds to build, equip or provide teaching materials for schools. It also clearly states that parents and teachers will manage the financial resources to maintain the operation of the schools, which will lead to the establishment of compulsory monthly, bimonthly, or semiannual fees.”
By forcing schools to continually fundraise in order to exist, CNTE Section 9 points out that the legislation “opens the door for, in the name of autonomy, and with the pretext of involving parents in the management and maintenance of the schools, the de facto legalization of fees, allowing the entrance of businesses into schools and turning the constitutional provision guaranteeing free public education into a dead letter. This has a name: privatization.”
The teachers fight backGiven the broadside attack on education, it is no wonder teachers have mobilized in such numbers. As Lev Moujahid Velázquez Barriga, a teacher from Michoacán who even in 2002 was teaching students under a tree as there was no classroom, told Contralínea, “If we aren’t here, in the future the children aren’t even going to have a school or a place to study.”
The teachers and their supporters have organized daily marches from their encampment in the Zócalo. Carolina previously reported for El Enemigo Común, “Since they set up camp in the Zócalo, they’ve held marches and protests, encircled the national House of Representatives and Senate, blocked the highway to the Mexico City Airport, made ‘courtesy calls’ to Televisa and TV Azteca, cordoned off the Public Education Department, carried out a megamarch to Los Pinos (the Mexican White House), joined a multitudinous march against the energy reforms, and despite extreme harassment, encirclement and armed violence by the Mexico City riot police, marched on the federal Congress at San Lázaro on September 1.”
Along with attacks from the police, the teachers have been under siege from all sides. The corporate media have embarked on a “satanization campaign,” relentlessly painting the teachers as violent, lazy, greedy vandals responsible for generating chaos in Mexico City and holding the nation’s children hostage. Congresspeople have called for investigations into the CNTE, claiming that outside groups are funding the encampment in order to foment rebellion. Their own union — loyal to power, not its members — has been calling for them to return to work, while SNTE President Juan Díaz de la Torre tours the country extolling the educational reform and the SNTE website lauds the plan.
Realizing what is at stake, the teachers have not been moved. In recent days they have carried out several massive marches. On September 1, as noted above, teachers and their supporters marched on Congress, forcing Peña Nieto, who was due to give his first State of the Union address there, to delay it until September 2 and deliver it from Los Pinos. The September 1 action saw clashes and police violence, with over 20 people arbitrarily arrested, including three independent journalists. All but seven were promptly released, and after paying exorbitant bails of 126,000 to 135,000 pesos each, all are now free, but still facing a litany of trumped-up charges.
Large marches also occurred on September 4, 5 and 8. On September 10, Peña Nieto signed the three regulatory laws, completing the legal process of his education reform. Unwavering, the teachers moved forward with the previously announced national general strike on September 11. Marches and other actions took place in at least 23 states. In Mexico City, tens of thousands of teachers and supporters took the streets. For hours they blocked major roads such as the Paseo de la Reforma and the Circuito Interior. Clashes with the police occurred on numerous occasions, with police beating, kicking and spraying fire extinguishers at protesters. At least 12 protesters were injured by the police violence.
On September 12, the negotiating committee of the CNTE met with Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, netting no results. The CNTE demanded a meeting with Peña Nieto and for a detailed analysis of the impact of the educational reform to be carried out. Osorio Chong asked for the teachers to leave the Zócalo before the Independence Day celebrations on September 15 and 16. With reports of a joint military and police plan to remove the teachers’ encampment by force before September 15, the CNTE has announced it will decide its next moves through national and state assemblies.
Peña Nieto, with the collaboration of the media, the corporate class and the main political parties, may have been able to move his educational reform package through the legislative process with relative ease. Yet, when it comes to implementation, that is another matter. CNTE Section 18 from Michoacán, which has 12,000 teachers in the Zócalo, has already announced its intention to ignore the reform. In the face of unceasing attacks and pressure, the teachers continue to steadfastly reject the latest neoliberal offensive against Mexico’s education system.
Embedded Video Description: 5SMX - Maestros de la CNTE bloquean la carretera al aeropuerto internacional del DF
Embedded Video Description: #11SMX Violencia del estado contra la CNTE
Sat 26 Jul, 02:19
Miami Students: Solidarity with Chilean Students and Popular Struggles 08:27 Wed 10 Aug 0 comments
Students and activists in Miami held a protest outside the Chilean consulate in downtown Miami Monday August 8th. The rally was organized by Students Working for Equal Rights, a student organization at campuses throughout Florida that organizes around student and immigrant issues.
Quebec: Student Strike Sweeping Province 20:19 Tue 12 Apr 0 comments
It has been already a month now since a massive student strike has been sweeping through Québec. It all started in late February when approximately 10 student unions, mainly from the Montréal area, went on an unlimited general strike.
On the Chicago Teachers Union Strike Sep 11 0 comments
The following is from a Chicago member of First of May Anarchist Alliance. It is an overview of the situation and was drafted over the weekend in the lead up to the strike that has started today. [Italiano]
Snapshots of the student movement in Montreal May 30 0 comments
At the bottom of this article are links for how your trade union or community group can support the students’ struggle. That will help tremendously, but spreading the struggle to your own job or school will do even more. This article is meant to help explain how, by showing how students in Quebec were able to organize their general strike. [Italiano]
Problems and Possibilities: California Student Organizing Explodes Aug 04 1 comments
Last summer, the University of California Board of Regents voted to increase student tuition by 32%. When they announced fee hikes and budget cuts while simultaneously granting themselves pay increases, faculty organizations and unions called for a one-day walkout and symbolic strike on September 24th across the UC system. California faces a budget shortfall upwards of $20 billion dollars, and education faces an inordinate degree of the cuts. That day brought out thousands of students and seriously disrupted operations at the LA and Berkeley campuses.
Report on the SDS and the SDS Convention of 2007 in USA Oct 01 2 comments
About 200 students and observers converged on Detroit’s Wayne State University from July 27 to 30, 2007, with the ambitious goal of rebuilding SDS as a national force to be reckoned with. There was an organization, a structure to build. There was a vision, a politics to work out. There were internal problems to confront, there were actions to endorse, and all in all, there were some 70 proposals to be debated and submitted to the membership for ratification
Indentured Education May 17 0 comments
Increasingly, working class students are incurring lifelong debt because the alluring promise of upward mobility through education leads them to take out substantial loans to pay for their education. Quite often they are uninformed or misinformed when it comes to the nature of the financial obligation.more >>
ZACF Statement in Solidarity with Students at Santa Cruz University Sep 25 Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments
We are delighted to hear that students at the University of California, Santa Cruz are taking direct action by occupying their university at the same time as our comrades take to the streets in Pittsburgh to protest the G20. We urge occupying students in Santa Cruz, as well as struggling students everywhere to forge links with the workers on their campuses and to support their struggles.
Mutual Aid: Host an Anarchist Speaker Aug 19 Institute for Anarchist Studies 0 comments
The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) is proud to make available the following dynamic, politically engaged speakers: Ashanti Alston, Kazembe Balagun, Alexis Bhagat, Harjit Singh Gill, Matt Hern, Mark Lance, Josh MacPhee, Andréa Maria, Todd May, Cindy Milstein, and Shiri Pasternak. Each speaker will support the good work that your political group is doing, and in turn, will use some or all of any honorarium that your collective, university, or organization provides to contribute to the IAS as a project.
University of Toronto prosecutes 14 for opposing fee hikes Apr 30 Common Cause and The Committee for Just Education 1 comments
Outrage is mounting over the arrest of 14 students who are facing criminal charges for allegedly participating in a peaceful sit-in at the University of Toronto on March 20, 2008. The sit-in, held to protest rising fees, ended when police acting on the orders of senior UofT administrators forcefully removed demonstrators. Students and organizers are being subjected to a campaign of intimidation by the UofT administration, who sought a criminal investigation of the matter and encouraged Toronto Police to arrest 14 individuals and have pressed charges against them.