September 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Oaxaca, MEX – A strike by teachers in four states that began Aug. 22 has closed more than half the schools in Oaxaca and Chiapas, according to the National Coordination of Education Workers.
The union, the dominant faction of the National Union of Education Workers in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas, and Michoacán, is demanding that the government back off on corporatist “reforms” such as increased standardized testing and prosecute the police who killed 11 demonstrators in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca on June 19. “The real goal is privatizing education,” said Tranquilino Lavariega, a teacher and local union leader in Santa Cruz Ocotlán, Oaxaca. “And because our union has been part of the opposition to their growing power in Mexico, they see us as a political threat.” President Enrique Peña Nieto has refused to negotiate until the teachers return to work. California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt expressed solidarity, saying that “the same corporate interests in both of our countries seek to privatize public education, undermine our ability to function as professional and socially responsible educators, and end our right to unions and collective bargaining and action.” Read more