Mexican teachers in the poor, heavily indigenous states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacan have bravely stood up in the face of government attempts to smash one of the last bastions of unionized workers in Mexico, education. The Oaxaca teacher’s strike is in response to the so-called educational reforms being pushed by the Enrique Pena Nieto government. These are not educational reforms at all but labor reforms. One of the more controversial elements of these reforms is that teachers will be subject to evaluations upon which their jobs depend. The teacher training schools or normals are also being threatened, especially since the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal school.
The normal have been a pathway to employment for the impoverished as well as a source of political activity and community involvement in rural societies. In response, the teacher’s union, Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación went on strike in Oaxaca. The ensuing crackdown on the Oaxaca teacher’s strike and imprisonment of (CNTE) leaders Aciel Sibaja, Ruben Nunez and Francisco Villalobos and brutal slaying of at least 4 demonstrators on June 19th illustrates the desperation of the Mexican government to contain and silence the teacher’s union.
American teachers should stand in solidarity with the CNTE and the Oaxaca teacher’s strike, as we are fighting the same set of neoliberal, corporate, interests in our system of education here in America. Our government is an ally of Pena Nieto. They have stood by and supported him in the face of his government’s violence, repression and human rights violations. There has been relative silence about the latest atrocities because they support the same vision of education. If faced with the same political clarity and courage exhibited by the Mexican teachers, our ruling class may respond in kind with repression. American teacher’s unions should demand an end to aid to the Mexican government until the CNTE confirms that the repression has stopped. Our struggle is the same.
We educators, here in the US are facing the same agenda, top down reforms in which our voices have not been included, increased, arbitrary accountability and job insecurity to fit a business model of education. The CNTE should inspire us all to stand up. We do not honor their example and their struggle by simply well wishing and liking facebook statuses. We should support them by supporting ourselves, standing up to the corporate education Stand With Oaxaca Teacher's Strike | BustED Pencils: