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T4CW 10.5.09: Update on Oaxaca's Schools, from Activist/Parent of Oaxaca City Schoolchild
by Maestr@s
Monday Oct 26th, 2009 5:25 PM
The Maestr@s spoke with a fellow media activist, Oaxaca City resident, and parent of a school aged daughter about the state of education in Oaxaca, where teachers mounted and led a massive uprising in 2006. We discuss the effects on schools and school children, three years later. 59.36 MP3 format
It's not a pretty picture: Oaxaca saw an inspiring takeover of the city over the fall and summer of 2006, made possible by an unprecedented civil society movement to establish a Popular Assembly to make decisions and policy (APPO), make and defend the people's media (radio and television station takeovers documented in "Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad"), and maintain control of the city after sending police and government packing through barricades and building occupations. Throughout, the teachers remained on strike, united with other sectors of the movement through one central demand: the ouster of corrupt governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

In 2009, Ulises remains in power. Impunity is the word that best describes the climate when people ask about any kind of resolution. And the schools are a wreck. We talk about what contributes to this situation: corruption in the teachers union, a lack of accountability and connections between teachers and parents, scarce funds, retribution for insubordination towards the PRI government still very much in power,... and how that affects working families, another generation of Mexican children, and a movement that sees teachers as leaders and models for organizing.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by dr. teacher
Wednesday Nov 11th, 2009 11:03 PM
First off, another excellent episode of "Teachers for Class War." From the times I have heard your show, I think you are taking interesting and important angles in education discussions. I hope there are teachers out there in the community not too burnt out to tune in and engage yerselves in these important discussions. That said, I do think there are some super important critiques to bring to this classroom discussion table you ate at tonite.

Primarily, what are the standards for which we measure "classroom success?" Is it the same ones as up here in the North? Having computers, kids being at school the whole day, etc..?? These 2 critiques your guest gave on this subject I frankly disagree with. I think kids are honestly at school too much here, especially the young ones. Also, I don't necessarily think that having a computer in every classroom is a good one. Computers are super important when teachers are over burdened with class loads and they can just put the kids on a computer to learn. Does your guest not see that her school is maybe too poor to have computers, money for fresh paint, toilet paper?

I honestly think we can and should look at primary and secondary schools in a similar light that we see colleges. Teachers giving focussed lessons on a couple of subject matters a day is plenty in my opinion, like college professors. With that framework, teachers can make lessons much better than the watered down, textbook driven lessons we now see for the most part. Now, if the teachers do or don't take advantage of that extra time is another thing. Please, look closely at the history of our public education. School growth and compulsory education parallel the growth of the factory. Thus, schools have become factory preps/day care centers for parents like your guests, not a place to learn. Filling up the day becomes more important than quality time doing quality projects.

Finally, though your guest does make some very valid critiques of the cronyism at her school and the selling of jobs, she honestly seems a bit burnt out on the scene, impatient, frustrated. The interview could I feel have been a bit more pointed in questioning her, why she is teaching, what she hopes to get out of her experience, besides her seemingly wanting to make the school down there just like up here, saving the Oaxacenos. But, not to belabor this. Your show is doing a great job covering a vital subject where these days there is more bleakness than hope, more factory than joy, more compulsoriness than inspiration...and on that cheeriness i end. Feel free to engage me in this.
by teacher
Saturday Nov 21st, 2009 11:41 PM
how might one contact this teacher you interviewed?