The Mexican Teachers' Revolution
Mexican teachers face off against police in Mexico City, June 2016
I was in Mexico for 3 months in mid-2016 and spent 6 weeks researching the Teachers' Revolution. This story has been covered to varying degrees by international media since 2013 when the Peña Nieto government introduced their Education Reforms. The coverage was most heightened after the 43 student teachers went missing on September 26, 2014. However even then there was almost no in-depth coverage of the actual issue of education, about which the students (along with thousands of teachers and other citizens) were opposing the government. Even the most recent teacher killings (Oaxaca, June 19) were only covered superficially, focusing on police violence and not the issue that led to that violence.
Mexico continues to be gripped by a political crisis around education. Since May 15 teachers affiliated with the leftist CNTE have been on strike; thousands have been blockading highways, occupying city squares and holding almost daily marches across southern Mexico and Mexico City. The CNTE say this will continue until the government abandons the reforms.
Instead of simply repeating assertions that the government and the CNTE repeatedly make about education, this story will explore the reality, particularly in the poor, largely indigenous southern states where opposition to the reforms is greatest. The government blames Mexico's poor educational outcomes on the CNTE, including accusations of fraud, corruption and thuggery, as well as high pay and low performance in jobs protected from dismissal. The teachers say they are low-paid and under-resourced, and that the government is targeting them for their role as community activists as well as educators. Certainly the CNTE identifies as pro-poor, pro-indigenous and anti-capitalist, in the tradition of Che Guevara and Emiliano Zapata.
I'll publish the story on this website asap.