Mexican President Orders End to Disputed Education Reforms
Mexico's president canceled disputed education reforms this week, as he had promised during his election campaign. The new leader, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also announced plans to expand the country's free college education program.
Lopez Obrador acted to keep his promise to teachers' unions. Some teachers had felt forced by the former administration to accept the reforms. Others expressed their opposition.
The reforms are to be replaced with a system that establishes a right to an education. Lopez Obrador said the government would build 100 new public universities and provide 300,000 university scholarships to poor students.
Federal and state legislatures now will consider Lopez Obrador's order. The president's coalition controls both houses of Congress.
Supporters of the reforms argued that they would improve accountability and quality in underperforming public schools. They urged Lopez Obrador to give the reforms time to succeed.
But the demand that student test results be considered in teacher evaluations angered educators. Critics said the measures did not address the historic regional inequality among schools.
Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma Barragan said it was very unfair "that the teachers were blamed as the only ones responsible for the problems of public education."
He noted that 150,000 teachers had retired over the past three years and that few students chose to study at the country's teachers' colleges.
Moctezuma noted that the plan includes terms for continuing education for teachers. He said the government will create a new school for teacher training. And he said it would close the National Institute of Education Evaluation, the agency created to evaluate the public education system.
President Lopez Obrador said, "The teachers are never going to be disrespected again."
I'm Caty Weaver.