The democratic teachers of Mexico are continuing their fight against so-called education reform, for labour rights and for the return alive of the 43 student teachers of Ayotzinapa.

Thousands marched through the capital, Mexico City, including 1000 from Oaxaca, where 30,000 struck work on Friday in support of these demands.

The leaders of the democratic teachers called for a new stage of struggle including blocking of roads, ports and airports to bring their demands to the attention of the public, since the government were refusing to negotiate.

At the end of last year thousands of teachers refused to take the evaluation tests which the government were making a condition of their tenure.

The resistance of the teachers is particularly striking, given the degree of pressure being exerted on them - from an intense propaganda campaign in the media, to the bringing of armed security forces to secure the tests, to the quiescence of the teaching union SNTE. Leaders of CNTE, the dissident section of the union, have been arrested and are faced with the possibility of long prison sentences, the union's finances have been sequestered.

Despite all this, teachers continue to fight corporate reform, which they say will bring about increasing privatisation and commercialisation of schools, as well as the dismantling of their efforts to create a new pedagogical model, based on critical education and on working with local communities. Instead they are calling for the proper funding of education

It is deeply regrettable that Education International fails to report the struggles of the democratic teachers of Mexico but instead chooses to support uncritically the leaders of SNTE, who are co-operating with the government in pushing through the reforms. SNTE held a conference last year, attended by the secreatary general of EI, focused on 'improving education quality' in Mexico. In an article describing the conference on the EI website it says:

'The newly appointed education minister of Mexico, Mr. Aurelio Nuño Mayer, assured the participants that reform plans would be developed in dialogue with the teaching profession and carried out in close cooperation with the education union. Standardised testing and high stake teachers’ evaluation, which are part of current reform measures, have been the subject of controversy between the profession and the public authorities.Union President Juan Díaz de la Torre said that while SNTE will respect the law, the reforms should not cause teachers to lose their jobs. “Nobody should be left behind”, he said, referring to the many programs SNTE has established to help their members improve their teaching practices.'

So while the SNTE leadership continues to co-operate with the government, the dissident teachers of Mexico are on the streets defending public education with their lives.