Last month, teachers from the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE clashed with police officers in the town of Nochixtlán in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, and as a result nine protestors died and several were wounded by police. This is not the first time the group has protested the educational reforms that blame the teachers for the poor education system but these protests turned violent when some of their leaders were recently arrested for money laundering. The CNTE, shut down the freeway in multiple places that led in and out of the town for over a month. When the police tried to clear the illegal roadblocks, violence erupted. According to Slate the reforms would modernize the educational system,
Over the past several years, the strikes of Sección 22, as the Oaxaca chapter of CNTE is known, have had a different focus: the education reforms pushed by President Enrique Peña Nieto, passed the year after he entered office in 2013. The reforms, an attempt to modernize Mexico’s flailing education system and therefore the country as a whole, mandate a test given to teachers as well as a performance review. If teachers fail three times in a row, they could be fired, stripped of the job security they’ve traditionally enjoyed. It’s an evaluation system that’s completely without precedent in the history of Mexican education.
The union, no stranger to violent tactics, has shut down streets, disrupted traffic on the highway between Mexico City and Oaxaca, and blocked access to an important oil refinery in the region.