The News
The News
Wednesday 05 of October 2022

CNTE Bullfighters


People and protesters from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers' union shout as they march against President Enrique Peña Nieto's education reform, along the streets in Mexico City,photo: Reuters/Henry Romero
People and protesters from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers' union shout as they march against President Enrique Peña Nieto's education reform, along the streets in Mexico City,photo: Reuters/Henry Romero
But what exactly does the CNTE teachers union want?

One routine Mexicans seem unable to assimilate to is having daily traffic jams in Mexico City or road blockades in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas staged by the dissident and minority National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) union.

It’d seem that their protests have been there forever. Perhaps not, but all predict that they will stay there forever, even if normal citizens fail to take them for granted. They are a nuisance and a violation of free transit constitutional rights.

Discussions, in the meantime, continue in the Education Secretariat (SEP) and the Interior Secretariat (Segob) with very little results, as the CNTE teachers want to impose their will of returning to past formats and rights through the total repeal of the 2013 Education Reform proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto and approved by both houses of Congress.

In Tuesday’s meeting at SEP, Elementary Education Undersecretary Javier Treviño Cantú warned the CNTE representatives for the umpteenth time that “repealing the Education Reform never was and never will be a part of the negotiations. This was agreed on before we even started these negotiations.”

But what exactly does the CNTE teachers union want?

Senate Education Committee president Juan Carlos Romero Hicks says that if the dissident teachers had suggestions for a public policy or legislation in favor of their cause he’d be “delighted to talk to them.”

But what they want is returning to the past, says Senator Romero Hicks, to an outmoded and corrupt system in which “for many years” this union managed job placement criteria in which jobs were passed on from parents to children.

“This union thought they could pass down jobs, sell them, loan them or rent them.”

The Education Reform, deemed by CNTE workers as more of a labor than education reform, demands that teachers be evaluated to hold a classroom position, a stance by SEP they consider unconstitutional and which they have challenged at the Supreme Court.

In fact on August 10, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling against the CNTE teachers that gives the government the authority to evaluate the training and education of all teachers that work under the Education Secretariat payroll.

What the government is willing to discuss nowadays is the manner in which the evaluation process is carried out in order to design the manner of evaluation and the results.

Currently, a teacher has the right to a strike three rule, in which they are allowed to fail thrice the evaluation and not be fired, but removed from the classroom to an administrative position. They do not lose their jobs, just their teaching rights.

But nothing seems to make the CNTE union happy, and whatever the government sends their way is repudiated with more street protests.

Yesterday we were expecting a new “education model” proposal to be made by Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño, a person CNTE negotiators want nothing to do with and expect that whatever comes out of his office will be rejected.

Expecting a rebuke, Undersecretary Javier Treviño Cantú said that Nuño’s education model “is not definite and we’re open to a national consultation process in order to enlighten this proposal so that we can have definite plans and programs.”

But now CNTE leaders demand that the consultation be before, not after when Nuño presents this new education model.

The CNTE protesters complain about the treatment they are getting from the media in a booklet they are distributing nowadays in which they describe the treatment by the press as “despicable and insulting” and resent being labeled as “beaters, ignorant, inept; these are generalizations that have a classist and racist hint.”

Surely whatever Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño delivered Wednesday will only fuel even more the type of wrath the CNTE protesters have shown against the President Enrique Peña Nieto administration and his Education Reform.

The new “education model” is supposed to be an integral plan for kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school programs. It will most likely be approved by the majority National Education Workers Union (SNTE) — “the traitors” — who work in tandem, for the most part, with SEP.

But as with bullfights, whatever bull SEP sends into the ring, the CNTE teachers are there as the bullfighters ready not only to cape it, but to kill it.

In the meantime, bear with the traffic jams and economy-damaging road blockades.