Against the SNTE of Elba Esther Gordillo
Having run the SNTE teacher’s union like a dictatorship and a personal business, Elba Esther Gordillo is a good example of a traitor. Faced with an Education Reform that targets teachers rather than the social and economic poverty rife in Mexico, the SNTE should be the vanguard of resistance.
Just because someone is a strong leader does not mean that they are the best or most appropriate leader. This is something that those with authoritarian tendencies fail to realise.
Gordillo has played a major part in the SNTE’s corrupt, undemocratic behaviour, seeing positions in public schools sold or inherited and having allegedly embezzled 200 billion pesos ($156m / £103m) from SNTE bank accounts. These activities have brought Latin America’s most powerful union into disrepute and eroded public faith in unions. So, while she may speak of justice for teachers, she has let them down greatly by her autocratic and criminal behaviour.
Mexican citizens now need to be convinced that their lack of faith in the existent structures does not mean cooperation and unity should be rejected. After decades of bureaucracy and corruption under the PRI, it will be a real challenge to build up genuinely democratic structures, but that challenge needs to be faced if real changes are to occur.
In Support of the CNTE Resistance and a True Educational Revolution
The CNTE and their resistance to the Education Reform have been inspirational. Their attempts to democratise the SNTE are incredibly valuable and their willpower even more so.
A colleague recently said something very pertinent about the potential firing of workers who fail evaluations:
“If you are on the wrong road, going in the wrong direction, on a road full of potholes, in an old car in need of an MOT, do you get rid of the driver?”
The answer should be fairly obvious.
The problem is not the teachers. The majority of teachers around the world devote immense effort and endless hours to their students. They should be some of the most respected employees in any country. Evaluations are fine, if they are designed to target areas in which the whole education system, including teachers, can better serve students. If evaluations give support and training to teachers who need it, that would be great. It would also be great if the poverty that leads many students to leave school or lack focus, along with the media that distracts, poisons, and lies, were also evaluated.
The main issue we face is that teachers in capitalist nations throughout the world are seeing their professional rights attacked while societal factors affecting education are left untouched. Education is the basis of a truly democratic workers’ revolution, and political classes throughout the world know it. They will fight the birth of truly critical, democratic education systems, and we teachers must stand firm and build those systems – with or without government support.