Teachers strike in Mexico against sweeping education reforms


Elba Esther Gordillo waves during the National Police Day ceremony in Mexico City, on June 2, 2012. Gordillo was arrested Feb. 26 on allegations of embezzling union funds for personal use.


Alfredo Estrella

For the first time, Mexico's teachers are required to be evaluated by a body independent of the teachers' union and can be fired if they fail that evaluation. Mexico's teachers' union is not happy about this.

So thousands of angry teachers are skipping class and instead taking to the streets. The protests have been going on since last week, when tens of thousands of teachers, some armed with Molotov cocktails,  marched in Guerrero's capital. The strike has left 42,000 children without class. 

More from GlobalPost: Mexican teachers' union leader behind bars on charges of embezzling $200M

Some parents are setting up their own classes instead. "We have teachers that come to school just two days to avoid having their wages stopped, and then go on strike again," Saúl Castro, the father of three children and head of the state parents association,  told the Wall Street Journal

The protests come after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law sweeping education reforms this February. Around that same time, Elba Esther Gordillo, the head of Mexico's powerful teachers' union,  was arrested on charges of embezzling $200 million

Until the evaluation plan was put into law, the careers of Mexico’s teachers "had little to do with performance,"  the New York Times writes,  "and a lot to do with politics and compliance with directives from the teachers’ union."

The latest protests, however, appear to be freezing any progress on the national reform program,  the Associated Press reported last week.