Article from Mexican Labor News & Analysis
Published by UE International.

Date published: March 2016

Web version: http://www.ueinternational.org/Mexico_info/mlna_articles.php?id=242#1814

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION AND TEACHERS IN GUERRILLA WAR

The Secretary of Public Education (SEP), Aurelio Nuño Mayer, and dissident teachers of the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE) and allied teachers organizations are in a virtual guerrilla war over the Education Reform Law and the teacher testing it requires. Last year la CNTE called upon teachers to refuse to take the evaluation exam required under the Education Reform passed in 2013, and last year in some states union activists disrupted the examination, burning the tests.

As a result, the SEP fired 3,600 teachers in various states for failing to take the exam. Some of the teachers claim that extraordinary circumstances made it impossible for them to take the exam. Juan Díaz de la Torre, head of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), under pressure from the CNTE caucus within his union as well as from angry teachers all over the country, has insisted that the SEP examine the cases of the 3,600 teachers one-by-one.

But Secretary of Education Nuño Mayer has declared that all of the teachers who failed to take the exam will be terminated without any appeal.

In response to those firings, teachers have engaged in protests throughout the country, leaving class to participate in marches and sometimes blockading SEP buildings or blocking highways. Nuño Mayer, in turn, has docked 5,000 teachers in Chiapas and many others in other states for missing work.

The union dissidents, in addition to their protests, are also pursuing a legal strategy. As Enrique Enríquez Ibarra, head of Local 9 in Mexico City explained, “We are calling on each school to organize a voluntary collection and to create a resistance fund to give economic support to our compañeros and to finance their legal defense. They are not asking for severance pay, but rather want to be reinstated in their jobs.”

Meanwhile, throughout Mexico, elementary and secondary school teachers continue to engaged in protests large and small against the Education Reform Law and in support of the their fired comrades.

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