Monday, January 19, 2015

Today's Headlines: School daze

Monday morning ennui reigns among the dailies, with the most eye-catching lead headline coming from Milenio and dealing with that old standby — the misbehavior of protesting teachers in the state of Guerrero. The story deals with a warning from a top legislator, Emilio Gamboa Patrón, the PRI leader in the Senate: “CETEG has provoked too much.” CETEG is the Guerrero-based radical educators organization that has attacked government and army installations, blocked highways, intimidated election workers and extorted money from everyday individuals, with carte blanche impunity.
    “The violent acts that have taken place in some regions harm the majority of Mexicans,” Gamboa said in an interview, and then added a thinly veiled threat: “We’re sure that if this continues, nobody will come out ahead.”
    The legislator’s comments came after similar statements from the powerful Coparmex business organization. But neither Congress nor the private sector has the capacity to wage a crackdown on its own. That has to come from state and federal law enforcement, and so far neither has seen an upside in going after the vandals.


The education financing system has another challenge, summed up in El Universal’s lead headline: Teacher pension crisis in 20 states.” This latest predicament is revealed by a study from the teachers’ union itself, the National Education Workers Syndicate, or SNTE. The pension system is in deep trouble, according to the SNTE, and retired teachers in 20 states are at risk of not being paid. The report urges a major reform of the system, which would require the union and government working in cooperation. Meanwhile, payments for teachers still working are complicated by as many as 198,000 spurious names on the payroll, causing one to wonder about the integrity of the pensioner roster.

La Jornada also leads with negative education news, more global in scope: “Education failures persist in OECD countries.” In the 34  developed democracies, including Mexico, that belong to the organization, the average 15-year-old “hasn’t acquired the skills necessary to fully participate in life today.” The report also notes that the number of young people between 15 and 29 who neither work nor study has risen 1.3% since 2008.

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