Teachers in Mexico are continuing their heroic fight against the imposition of neo-liberal education policies on the country's schools. Yesterday they blocked roads to Mexico City's main airport, stopping all traffic getting through for eight hours.

The teachers have been camping in the central square of Mexico City for weeks. The right wing government, led by the disputed president, Pena Nieto, is imposing a system of teacher evaluation, based on the neo-liberal model of standardised testing and curricula, which the teachers say is completely inappropriate for Mexico - a country of many different cultures, social environments and languages.  According to one teacher, Marcus Arellanes from Oaxaca: "We are not opposed to an evaluation, and we don’t oppose professionalization either. On the contrary, we’ve presented a program for transforming education in the state of Oaxaca. We think evaluation is a constant, ongoing process that should be applied to teachers, students, and the schools themselves, but not by failing to respect the contact and the reality of those most affected. We don’t agree with that.Through this process, the government plans to standardize everything through policies of alignment, control and subjugation. 

 Moreover teachers say that the government's plans open the way for privatisation of the school system.  Arellanes says: "Through changes in Article 73 of the Constitution, they establish something called “social participation,” at the same time the tie between the State and the schools is dissolved so that the urgent needs and requests are ignored. The legislation grants parents the right to look for sources of school financing. Private businesses are already raising their hands to volunteer. We’re talking about BIMBO, Coca Cola, and all the transnational organizations that have just been granted approval to take absolute control of education. From now on, people will have to depend on them. It’s only logical. They’re going to have a big impact on the programs. They’re going to influence the way education is carried out in the schools. And that’s really serious. The authorities are demanding absolute control for businesses in the institutions. What they call “social participation” opens the schools to private business."

Teachers in Mexico have and are making a unique contribution to the struggle against neo-liberal education reform. The dissident teachers in Oaxaca and in many other states of the country understand the politics behind the reforms. Morevoer they understand that it is a global struggle. Another teacher from Oaxaca, Carolina, says:  ". . . these schoolteachers are calling into question a strategy that not only means the end of their work as educators, but is also a mortal blow against the education of Mexico’s future generations — a strategy designed by the international business class through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develoment (OECD), better known as the “Rich Man’s Club.” A strategy promoted by their national acolytes and signed into a pact by their servants in Mexico’s political class. A strategy that has resulted in massive public school closures in Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities in the United States and has placed education under the control of huge corporations through the development of charter and voucher schools in that country."

The corruption in the Mexican teachers' union, SNTE, has enabled the media to portray the teachers' struggle as one which is trying to defend the venal practices of its leaders. In fact the same teachers struggling against these policies are the ones who have been fighting, often at the cost of their own safety, for democracy in their union. To read more background on the struggle in Mexico go . All quotes in this article are taken from the website: 

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