September 19th, 2013
Earlier this month, by an overwhelming vote of 102-22, Mexico’s Senate approved the over-haul of the country’s public education system. The education reforms, proposed by Enrique Peña Nieto when he took office as president last December and largely supported by Mexico’s three main political parties, favor standardized system of test-based hiring and promotion of its public school teachers, approved the over-haul of the country’s education system.
The new education laws diminish the control the teachers unions have over the country’s education system that include the corrupt sale and inheritance of teaching jobs and shift the power to the state. The new education reforms have given rise to protests by thousands of teachers, led by powerful teachers’ unions, who’ve been clashing with police in the streets of Mexico City in an effort to halt and derail the reforms.
Using Finland and South Korea as examples, Mexico wants to incorporate the same conditions followed by these two countries that have led to successes in their respective education systems. These conditions include: selection of the best teachers, social recognition of teacher and the teaching profession, higher wages and on-going improvement of the system.
Here are some of the highlights of Mexico’s New Education Reforms:
• New teachers seeking to gain a teaching position in the national educational system are selected through a national examination. Once selected, new teachers will have to pass an evaluation assessment in order to demonstrate their knowledge and competency to become a teacher. New teachers are given up to two chances (one per year in each of their first two years) to pass this evaluation.
• Existing teachers (1.2 million), just like new teachers, will have to pass an evaluation assessment to provide their knowledge and competency to teach classrooms. Existing teachers are given up to three opportunities (one per year in each of the following three years) to pass the evaluation assessment.
• Union leaders will no longer be able to fill 50% of the new or vacant teaching positions (eliminating the power formally granted in 1963)
• Retiring teachers will no longer be able to sell their positions or pass them on to relatives
• Teachers who chronically underperform may be dismissed
• The union will lose their “comisionados” – some 80,000-100,000 officials paid by the government to do union work.
• Promotions and pay raises will be merit-based.
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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit http://www.acei-global.org.