Article from Mexican Labor News & Analysis
Published by UE International.
Date published: April 2016
Web version: http://www.ueinternational.org/Mexico_info/mlna_articles.php?id=244#1828
By Imanol Ordorika
The federal government’s actions and rhetoric with regard to so-called educational reform has turned into a source of social and political polarization in our country. Those who promote and defend it have created high expectations with regard to the improvement of the national education system. In reality, this reform has been a trick, a myth, and a fraud.
It is a trick in that it leads society to believe that normative changes—whose actual objectives are political and labor control of the teachers, the realignment and continued domination over the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE) to the official party and government, and domination over other union opposition groups—are a real educational reform focused on the improvement of public education. The proof that this is a truck is found in the absence of any general educational proposal based on contemporary reality, the needs of the country, and the project of national development, which would corresponded to a well defined educational philosophy and consistent pedagogical proposals.
The trick is based on an incredible myth: that the evaluation of basic education teaches is the fundamental action that must be taken to elevate the quality of education. The evaluation, that is the central proposal and almost the only one in what is called the education reform, will have effects on future hiring, promotion, the teaching career, and the removal of teachers from educational work. None of these actions by themselves produces an improvement in education.
The myth is based on the description and intentional discrediting of Mexican teachers, who are presented as the principal problem of education in Mexico. The media campaigns of Televsia and the diatribes of the group Mexicans First have played a fundamental role in this. For the Secretary of Public Education (SEP) and those groups the problem is the teachers and the solution that has been put in practice are the measures of control described above.
The fraud is based on the fact that the Secretary of Public Education and the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE) know that the evaluations that have been proposed are impractical. That they can only carry out superficial and incomplete evaluations. That these will not have results that have been attributed to them and that they will have a negative impact on the professional, labor, and life experiences of tens of thousands of Mexican teachers.
Since the creation of INEE, in official documents and declarations of the president, it was suggested that the teaching evaluation could not be homogenous, but that it was necessary to “consider in the evaluation practices, everything from the education system to the classroom, the diversity of realities, cultures, and languages that exist in the country, which is without a doubt one of its major risks.” (INEE, “Evaluation in the Context of Educational Reform.”)
In accordance with the established norms and laws, the Secretary of Public Education, four types of evaluations will be carried out: 1) to enter the teaching profession; 2) to be promoted (which has just begun); 3) to be entitled to permanent positions; and 4) for “promotion based on incentives,” previously called the teaching career.
The most problematic of the evaluations is that regarding permanent positions. According to the law, 1.4 million teachers have to be evaluated every four years. The teachers’ job security depends on that examination. This means that each year some 350,000 teachers have to be evaluated for just this one sort of evaluation. The INEE and the Secretary of Pubic Education try to make us believe that they can create a complete and serious evaluation that takes into account the diversity and the heterogeneity that exists in our country. They known it is impossible. And that’s why it’s a fraud.