Report from Marta Sanchez

Yesterday, July 20th teachers in Chiapas set up a highway blockade on the San Cristobal de las Casas-Tuxtla Gutierrez highway and were confronted by police and armed groups. Using military grade force and leaving at least two teachers injured, the police and armed groups cleared the blockade. Later, teachers regrouped and have continued their resistance.

Almost at the same time as the first blockade, Aurelio Nuño, the secretary of education, announced his multi-point plan for his new Modelo educativo [education model], which will come into effect in 2018. His hashtag is #EducaciónDeCalidad, or Quality Education.

Something that garnered some media attention, which had previously been emphasized in January 2016, is La Escuela al Centro [The School at the Center] that includes eliminating bureaucracy by transferring funds and decision-making power to schools. La CNTE has argued that the constitutional change is worded so that parents and teachers are made responsible for the infrastructure of the school, or the outsourcing of costs to families and teachers. Other points include starting the school year earlier to offer teachers planning time and PD (technical committees). CNTE says that the reforms substitute the values of the market for the kind of critical and creative education which they are seeking to build, as well as contravening the labour rights of teachers. They are demanding the repeal of the reform and dialogue with all the social actors involved, including communities, parents and teachers to build a truly democratic education system.

However Nuño has made a pact with el SNTE, the huge Mexican teaching union with a long history of corruption, and the charro leaders of that organization to push this through, completely circumventing and sabotaging the work with la CNTE, the dissident, democratizing force within el SNTE

The bottom line is: the Modelo Educativo is stained with blood.


Marta Sanchez is Assisant Professor at the College of Education, University of North Carolina