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Dissident Teachers Strike Over Education Overhaul, Government Weakens Stance

Juan Montes - The Wall Street Journal
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June 2, 2015
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Members of the dissident teachers group CNTE and other activists in the town of Tlapa in the southern state of Guerrero. (Juan Montes/The Wall Street Journal)

Members of a dissident teachers’ group went on indefinite strike in Mexico, vandalizing government offices, torching electoral documents and leaving at least a million children without classes, in an effort to halt an education overhaul and disrupt coming federal midterm elections.

The action Monday by the National Coordinator of Educational Workers—a branch of the national teachers union that is strong in the country’s poorest states—and the possibility of further disruptions ahead of Sunday’s vote pose a growing challenge to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In 2013, the government passed an overhaul of Mexico’s troubled public school system that, among other things, calls for mandatory evaluations of the country’s teachers, due to begin later this year. In 2012 education tests drawn up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mexico got the lowest marks in math and reading among its 34 member countries.

On Friday, under pressure from the CNTE, as it is popularly known, Mexico´s government said it would suspend “until further notice” plans to carry out the evaluations. The delay was broadly seen as a humiliating setback for the president, who has tried to cast himself as a reformer trying to modernize Mexico’s economy.

“The suspension of teachers’ evaluation is the hardest blow the reformist credibility of President Peña Nieto has suffered so far,” Héctor Aguilar Camín, a prominent writer, said Monday in a column in the Milenio newspaper.

Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal

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