Fighting the Government, Radical Teachers Union CNTE Gives Mexico a Harsh Lesson
Jose de Cordoba - The Wall Street Journal
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December 10, 2013

A student in El Manantial, in Oaxaca, Mexico, the site of teacher clashes. (Michael Toolan/The Wall Street Journal)

SAN LUCAS QUIAVINI, Mexico - During a recent teachers strike in this Zapotec Indian town in the poor southern state of Oaxaca, parents who brought in replacement instructors discovered that the children hadn’t been taught the words to Mexico’s national anthem. Instead, they had been trained to sing a popular leftist song which acts as an unofficial anthem to a local chapter of the teachers union.

“We don’t know the words to the Mexican anthem,” said Leticia Diego, a student, apologizing to a visitor one recent morning. About a dozen seventh-graders then shyly sang the leftist anthem, “The People United Will Never Be Defeated.”

The union here is the National Coordinator of Educational Workers, or CNTE, a radical and powerful wing of the country’s national teachers union. Analysts say it has long maintained an iron grip over some of Mexico’s poorest states - one that goes beyond what children are taught, and extends to lengthy strikes, disruptive protests and violent clashes.

Now, as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto begins to implement an overhaul of Mexico’s troubled public school system, the CNTE has stepped up its efforts to fight the government.

Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal

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