Posts Tagged ‘educational reforms’

… between Independencia and Morelos on Garcia Vigil.

That's Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, leading the charge.

That’s Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto, backed by the military, leading the charge against the teachers’ union.

No to the education reform! Only books will draw this country away from barbarism.

No to the education reform!  Only books will draw this country away from barbarism.

My future is en your hands No to the privatization of education!

My future is in your hands – No to the privatization of education!

To protest is not a crime. No to the education reform.

To protest is not a crime – No to the education reform

Reforms: Energy, Education, Financial, Labor

Reforms:  Energy – Education – Financial – Electoral – Labor

The occupation of the Zócalo continues; yesterday Sección XXII of the CNTE (teachers’ union) shut down the airport; today a federal helicopter is flying overhead as I write, no doubt keeping tabs on a mass march from the IEEPO (State Institute of Public Education) to the Zócalo; the extremely contentious election for governor of Oaxaca is June 5; Guelaguetza 2016 performances are July 25 and August 1; and the new school year is scheduled to begin in mid August.  It could be a long hot summer…

Read Full Post »

This librarian couldn’t let this go by without a mention… Today is World Book Day and, naturally, Oaxaca celebrates with music!   Under the shade of 130+ year old Indian laurel trees on the zócalo, the State Marimba Band opened the festivities.

P1030861According to the SECULTA website, the celebrations also include storytelling and a marathon of reading aloud from works by Octavio Paz, José Emilio Pacheco, José Revueltas, Julio Cortázar, Efraín Huerta, Juan Gelman, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and by the recently deceased and much revered, Gabriel García Márquez.

While the zócalo and Alcalá are the settings for book fairs several times a year, most of the public libraries are inadequate to fulfill their designated tasks and the price of books (200 to 300 pesos) is way beyond the reach of most of the state’s residents.  Thus, it should surprise no one that reports show Oaxaqueños read an average of only one book per year.   The secretary of Cultures and Arts of Oaxaca ( SECULTA ), Francisco Martínez Neri, acknowledged, “A people with few economic opportunities read little, so it requires the creation of public policies to have books at affordable prices.”  Programs like Libros Para Pueblos, try to fill the gap, but it’s only the proverbial drop in the bucket.

I’ve previously mentioned the controversial “education reform” program of Mexico’s current president, Peña Nieto.  Perhaps, a massive nationwide literacy campaign modeled after the wildly successful, Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961 would be a good place to start.  Maybe the education reformers should read, Latin lessons: What can we learn from the world’s most ambitious literacy campaign?

Read Full Post »

Expats and Mexicans alike, are watching in amazement at the nonsense (as in, making NO sense) taking place in the hallowed halls of Washington DC.  And, since many of the expats are retired, we are holding our collective breath over the possibility social security checks will not be forthcoming in November and a tanking stock market that flushes our nest eggs away.  Of course, Mexico is in the middle of its own mess, “educational reforms” and economic proposals that will hurt Mexico’s working class and rural populations the most.

Wall in Oaxaca city.

Wall in Oaxaca city.

In a New York Times article two days ago, Carlos Puig explains the reality of the material conditions that have forced the teachers of Oaxaca to take the drastic action of abandoning their classrooms to lead massive and extremely disruptive protests in Mexico City against the “No Child Left Behind” style reforms that the Peña Nieto led government has proposed and passed.  (Read a critique of the US education “reform” by Diane Ravitch, former “No Child Left Behind” proponent, here.)

Oaxaca is 500 kilometers from Mexico City, yet the real distance is much bigger. The state’s G.N.P. per capita is one-quarter the average for the country. Oaxaca ranks second-to-last among all states in infrastructure. More than half its population lives in towns of fewer than 2,500 people.

Being a teacher in Oaxaca means sometimes having to travel for an entire day to reach your school in a tiny community, teach for three days — to children of all grades — and travel back home for the weekend. It means having to deal with children who speak more than 20 different dialects.

Being a teacher in Oaxaca means operating in a different universe — and under different rules.

Banner hanging in front of a school in Oaxaca city

Banner hanging in front of a school in Oaxaca city

However, as in the USA, the incomprehensible words coming out of the mouths of the 1% and their elected representatives are mind-boggling in their obliviousness to the adverse consequences their behavior and policies cause.  And, we scratch our heads in amazement…  McClatchy journalist, Tim Johnson, has repeatedly blogged about the exceedingly “bad” behavior exhibited by Mexico City’s rich and powerful directed at those they consider “below” them — most recently, Las Ladies, episode 7.  And, just last week in Oaxaca, most were aghast to read that an indigenous woman, in the advanced stage of labor, was turned away from a hospital and forced to give birth on the hospital lawn.

Daniel Goleman had a revealing piece in the New York Times a few days ago that helps explain where this lack of empathy the ruling elite exhibit, that results in callous social policy, comes from.  He explains in Rich People Just Care Less that, by necessity, “the poor, compared with the wealthy, have keenly attuned interpersonal attention in all directions…”  And that, “A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power” and, “In politics, readily dismissing inconvenient people can easily extend to dismissing inconvenient truths about them.”

Okay, now we know why the rich care less, so what are we going to do about it?

Part of a mural on Niños Heroes in Oaxaca city.

Part of a mural on Niños Heroes in Oaxaca city.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: