• Notes From Dave
  • my thoughts on some of the tough issues of short-term missions
  • God's Politics
  • jim wallis' smart, political, and God centered take on the issues of today
  • Progressive Eruptions
  • the liberal side of politics from shaw kenawe. a daily read of mine.
  • Conservatism With Heart
  • a conservative take on life and politics from a well connected missouri mom
  • Truthdig
  • left of center, and very informative. bob scheer's online journal
  • Coffee Klatch
  • home of the best coffee roaster in So. Cal. and where i learned to love coffee
  • The Coffee Geek
  • everything you need to know about coffee and how to make a great cup o' joe
  • Bleacher Report
  • varied sports blog, lots of attitude, and sometimes i'm a featured writer
  • Aubievegas
  • a mix of sports in general with a bent towards vegas and auburn
My Photo
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring in Oaxaca... while teachers protest, kids are left behind...

Scene from 2006 teacher protests
If it is spring, it must be time for the annual teacher strikes in Oaxaca.  This year instead of descending on the city center, thousands of teachers have made a pilgrimage to Mexico City to voice their displeasure and share their plight.  Others have taken up the call to block highways and generally disrupt life in their attempt to publicize their cause.

Each year, as surely as the swallows return to Capistrano or the monarch butterflies descend on Pacific Grove, teachers in Oaxaca organize strikes, marches, demonstrations and protests, disrupting life across the state.

And each year, thousands of children in one of the most impoverished states in the country are deprived of good quality education as these teachers leave their communities and classrooms to take part in the annual protests.

Yet you will never hear that from the teachers.

They will never tell you about parents that must leave kids alone at home because class has been canceled.  They will never tell you how far behind Roberto and Julia are in their studies because their teachers decided to take another day or week off of classes to protest.  And they will never tell you that many teachers in Oaxaca have never received any formal training to be a teacher.

They won’t tell you these things because it does not serve their purpose.

If you travel, as I have, in the villages of Oaxaca and talk to the parents, they are fed up with the powerful teachers unions.  How, they ask, can their kids get an education if you never know when a teacher will show up?  The frequency of the teacher strikes and the demands of the union leadership for participation in those strikes are not helping solve the education challenges in Oaxaca.  

They are exacerbating it.

Teaching in Oaxaca is not easy and at some point, people reach a boiling point as they did in 2006, almost bringing down the state government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.  For a good look at that fateful time, watch the documentary "Un Poquito de Tanto Verdad."  I was there and can tell you, while this movie has a bias, it rings true and is pretty accurate. 

I get that wages are low for teachers.  I understand that many of the schools are pretty crappy.  I’ve been in some of those tin walled rooms on hot days in Oaxaca and it isn’t pretty.  I can tell you from experience how hard it is for a family to buy the necessary uniforms and supplies for their kids to attend school.

Many of the schools in Oaxaca are miles away from the people or, if they are close by, lack the basic necessities like electricity and running water.  In some areas school is taught by video satellite and discipline is enforced by a different untrained parent each day.  The challenges that are faced with educating population groups that grow up speaking indigenous languages and have no written alphabet are legion.

But teachers walking out of classes to get the attention of the government officials is not the solution.  The only people hurt by this shortsighted strategy are the children the teachers claim to be helping.

The teachers union, known locally in Oaxaca as Seccion 22, APPO, and the government of Gabino Cue must find a way to solve the educational crisis in Oaxaca in a way that benefits everyone.  Ignoring the teachers, refusing to negotiate and walking out on classes and leaving thousands of children behind to somehow educate themselves is not the answer. 

Grow up people, Oaxaca, her children and her future are depending on you!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments on "Spring in Oaxaca... while teachers protest, kids are left behind..."


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:04 PM) : 

Some of the most despicable people imaginable. Greedy and lazy, and they hold the school children's education hostage to their pure avarice. Yes, we have them in the US. Those whose idea of public service is "how can the public serve me?"

It gets even worse here, where in cities like Detroit you have teachers being paid $100,000 a year to do an extremely terrible job. But hey, they've got theirs, education be damned.

Scenes like you describe happen in Chicago all the time.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:51 AM) : 

I am not sure even Chicago could match the hubris of the teacher unions in Mexico...

They somehow got the government to pay for their kids to go to private school because the schools where they teach are so bad...

Believe it, it's true...


post a comment