Teacher performance evaluations began in November throughout Mexico. The evaluations are a result of the Mexican Education Reform. The evaluations will determine the entrance and promotion of teachers in the educational system according to the Law of Professional Teachers’ Service, one of the laws implementing a constitutional reform.
According to information from the Secretary of Public Education, 149,749 teachers have been registered, of which 116,825 are from elementary and middle schools, 29,000 are high school teachers, and 3,898 are directors from preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools.
The evaluations are taking place under heavy police operations after dissident teachers threatened to boycott the evaluations. The Secretary of Public Education, Aurelio Nuño, promised: “Each state will have sufficient federal police forces.”
The evaluations are also taking place without any citizen observers which is problematic. The National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE) rejected citizen observers from monitoring the evaluations. Not allowing citizens to monitor the process threatens transparency and accountability of the testing and impedes citizens to provide impartial information about any incidents and irregularities that might occur throughout the process.
Many Mexican states including Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacán, Chiapas and Veracruz have seen mass mobilizations of security forces where teachers have widely rejected the evaluations. The National Security Commissioner, Renato Sales Heredia, announced that 5000 federal police have been deployed to Chiapas.
— Chiapas Político (@chiapaspolitico) December 8, 2015
“#Chiapas: CNTE hold sit-ins against assessments in Chiapas”
One teacher died and six were injured during protests against the evaluations in Chiapas. On Monday December 7, teachers from the CNTE union held marches and sit-ins in Chiapas. Testing in Chiapas had been originally planned for December 12 & 13 but was moved ahead by officials. Thousands of CNTE teachers went to the Escuela Mesoamericana de Protección Civil to attempt to block the evaluations. They were met by a contingent of state and federal police on the Panamericana highway. A motorist ran over three teachers, one of whom died. Proceso reported that three police were injured and two teachers were detained.
Around 50 normalistas from the normal school in Cherán have been arrested. They are accused of expropriating 2 buses and allegedly having several more buses at the school in Cherán (possibly 30+). The normalistas had taken a toll booth in Zirahuén protesting with teachers against the educational reforms.
The students were repressed by state and federal police. The police action ended in the arrest of at least 50 normalista students and at least 9 injured.
VIDEO: Video of the repression suffered by teacher trainees from the normal school in Cheran, Michoacán and community members in support of them, on the part of the federal and state forces of Michoacán.
Protests and barricades demanding the release of the detained student teachers are ongoing in Michoacán.
— Acueducto online (@acueductoonline) December 8, 2015
“CNTE teachers march in support of normalistas Michoacán”
Teachers in Guerrero are also boycotting and protesting the teacher evaluations.
— Lluvia de la Mañana (@oblatos00) December 3, 2015
“Teachers of the #CNTE in Guerrero have initiated activities against punitive assessment. #FuerzaCNTE”
Teachers in Guerrero protested inside and outside the examination center where the test was being administered on December 3 in Acapulco. Leaders of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) said that the actions of protest led by teachers who attended the performance evaluation in Guerrero prove that teachers themselves reject the reforms.
Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, a teacher from Mexico state said, “the strategy of the SEP to force teachers to be evaluated, only generate a circle of simulation that will further damage the education of millions of Mexicans. Fences and police will not convince teachers.”
VIDEO: Teachers Protest During Teacher Assessment in Acapulco – Dec 3
Protests and police confrontations also occurred in Oaxaca end of November when the CNTE there marched for 2 days against the evaluations.
— El Universal (@El_Universal_Mx) November 29, 2015
“For 2nd consecutive day CNTE in Oaxaca march against teacher assessments.”
Marjorie Xolio Meléndez, a professor with Section XXII of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in Oaxaca, was found assassinated on Sunday November 29, she was reported missing more than a month missing. Professor Marjorie Xolio Melendez, whose disappearance was reported on 27 October, was active in the protests against the educational reforms and teacher assessments.
Revolution 3.0 reported that teachers in both CNTE and CNTE pf Oaxaca had been threatened by elements of the state police, who allegedly warned the teachers resisting “if they continue getting into the fight for each other we will disappear you.”
Meléndez was found naked with a gunshot to the head determined as cause of her death. She was an elementary school teacher at Jalapa del Marqués.
Elí Jafet Cuateta, representative of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) in Veracruz told La Jornada that the state government brought in outsiders who were not teachers just to pose for this photo and make it appear as though the teacher assessments were a success.
Cuateta says teachers in Veracruz are against the teacher assessment as it violates labor rights while the Mexican state across the country has militarized the implementation of the testing process, making clear the punitive nature of the evaluations. Teachers in Veracruz announced they will continue mobilizations against the evaluations.