The News
The News
Tuesday 09 of August 2022

Back to School? Maybe

CNTE members during a demonstration in Chiapas,photo: Cuartoscuro/Jesús García
CNTE members during a demonstration in Chiapas,photo: Cuartoscuro/Jesús García
Problems will most likely continue as the government, as well as the rebel union chapters, are unwilling to budge from their stated stance

The good news for the people of the state of Oaxaca is that Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers union outlined in their state assembly Saturday a plan to go back to classes this week (perhaps).

They still have to discuss their back-to-class plan at the CNTE union’s National Assembly, to be held Tuesday at Section 9 downtown Mexico City, but their plan is to divide the bulk on the 82,000 Oaxaca state CNTE members in several sections. 30 percent of them will continue with their by now eternal protest against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Education Reform, which they demand be derogated, divided in two groups. 10 percent will be stationed in Mexico City and 20 percent will maintain their permanent occupation of downtown Oaxaca City. The remaining 70 percent will return to classes and registration will start Monday.

The bad news is that this will only happen in the state of Oaxaca, as the state of Chiapas Section will continue full throttle with their “work stoppage,” their road blockades and threats to vandalize cargo trucks with merchandise.

And there were no news from Michoacán and Guerrero, but it’s highly likely the class stoppage will continue.

The Oaxaca CNTE union decision — if accepted at the National Assembly — is the result of the “no class, no dialogue” stance taken by Public Education Secretary (SEP) Aurelio Nuño and the stiff application of cash deductions for days not worked which, obviously, the teachers don’t like but can’t do much regarding their bimonthly checks coming in short.

For the CNTE leaders, this means a change in strategy as they will not let up on their declared war against the Education Reform and, to look like the nice guy,s they are they are yielding political terrain not to the government, but to students and parents who have lost patience with teachers.

This new tactic by the Oaxaca teachers is seen with distrust by many who suspect that behind it are “more dirty tricks,” as the CNTE has done this type of thing before. In its Sunday editorial, influential newspaper El Universal questions the plan to restart classes asking if this is nothing but “a new onslaught” against the Oaxaca state and the federal governments.

In fact, after their gathering in Oaxaca City Saturday night, at the end of the planning meeting, teacher Francisco Bravo, member of the CNTE political committee, made it clear to daily La Jornada that the full return to classes agreement is just for that state, not a national decision, and that the definite decision on the strategy to follow with their protests “and it may not necessarily will have to do with the return to classes but with the perspective of what’s coming up next.”

The coming agreement is in tandem with the decisions made by the different sections in conflict with the government to launch their work stoppage and protests “against the ill-named Education Reform” to stick together until they win their multiple bouts with the Peña Nieto Administration since last May 15 when they started the 111 days-long work stoppage.

It is a fact that the government has sternly refused to abrogate the Education Reform now in full sail ahead in the rest of the nation and repudiated in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

In fact, their “dialogue” negotiations at the Interior Secretariat (Segob) were stopped in the middle of August and thus far there are no plans for a restart date but the Oaxaca Section 22 hopes their plan for returning to classes will be seen by Segob as a gesture of good will on their part in order to renew negotiations.

Definitely, Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong has left the administration’s position on the Education Reform approved by Congress since 2013 very clear, and that is the source of all the troubles caused by the CNTE union.

Problems will most likely continue as the government, as well as the rebel union chapters, are unwilling to budge from their stated stance.

But the issue now is what CNTE teachers will do next, and how the Administration will respond.

But for starters, at least the willingness to return to classes is a positive step.