The struggle of Mexican teachers continued this week, when thousands travelled to the capital, Mexico City, to protest and occupy Zocalo Square.
The teachers staged a long occupation of the square in 2013, which was eventually cleared by riot police. In the event, the teachers were prevented again from going to the square, so occupied the central street, Paseo del la Reforma.
This is just the latest stage in the struggle of Mexican teachers for democratic education, for labour rights, for decent pay and funding for education and for an end to police repression. The teachers came from Oaxaca, which has long been one of the areas in the leadership in this struggle. The neoliberal government of Peña Nieto is attempting to impose education ‘reform’, which would see education built on a US model, with high stakes standardised tests, performance related pay, short term contracts and a centralised curriculum in English or Spanish. In Oaxaca however the teachers have their own model for reform which is based on collaboration, on working with communities to develop curricula and on pupil and teacher evaluation which is positive, developmental and collaborative.
As well as this, however, the teachers are also demanding that teachers who are on temporary contracts be regularised and that pay which is owing to thousands of teachers be paid. Perhaps even more importantly they are campaigning for the release of the Ayotzinapa 43 – the young student teachers, abducted in Guerrero and very likely murdered by state forces.
To read more about the last few years of struggle in the Mexican teachers movement and the Ayotzinapa 43 go here.
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