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Teachers’ union hits out at educational reforms

December 28, 2012

The controversial head of Mexico’s National Teachers’ Union (SNTE) has voiced opposition to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposals for educational reform.

“We can not allow threats and coercion. Teachers will not be threatened,” Elba Esther Gordillo said at a press conference last week. “Teachers should be stimulated and encouraged to better themselves.”

Gordillo was responding to reforms passed by the Chamber of Deputies last Wednesday which would weaken the grip of the SNTE over educational policy by establishing an autonomous National Institute for the Evaluation of Teachers. The amendments to articles three and 73 of the Constitution would oblige teachers to undergo periodic evaluations in order to obtain professional positions.

Backed by Mexico’s three main parties but opposed by Gordillo’s New Alliance Party (PANAL), the bill received general 424 votes in favor, 39 against and 10 abstentions in Mexico’s lower house. To become law, the reforms must also be ratified by the Senate and 16 local congresses.

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