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Mexico Reinstates Teacher Evaluations After Elections

Guest post by Anthony Rebora

A follow-up to our coverage from last week: The Mexican government has reinstated its plan to implement evaluations for public school teachers in the country, a central part of President Enrique Peña Nieto's education overhaul package.

Late last month, amid widespread protests by members of a radical wing of the national teachers' union, the government had announced the suspension of the new evaluation system.

But as some observers predicted, the education department restored the evaluations this week after the country's June 7 elections, which the dissident teachers' groups had vowed to disrupt, were carried out more or less peacefully.

The evaluation system includes skills tests for teachers that are slated to be administered between September and November. It is considered the linchpin of Peña Nieto's education improvement package, which was signed into law in 2013. The sweeping legislation aims to bring greater career structure to the teaching profession and improve the competitiveness of the country's flagging school system.

A number news reports have noted that many teachers in Mexico, especially in low-performing schools, have essentially inherited their positions, a practice that the new education law bars.

Education reform advocates were dismayed by the government's original suspension of the evaluations, with some characterizing it as allowing the Mexican education system "to be subject to blackmail." While they welcomed the reinstatement of the system, according to Wall Street Journal story, some still expressed doubts about government's ability to follow through on the full education law in the coming months.

That's particularly the case because opponents of the law in the national teachers' union were seen as gaining influence as a result of the recent elections.     

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