More teachers fearful of accountability

Even in Mexico they are looking at evaluating teacher performance, but the law that has just been passed was significantly watered down after violent protests by teacher and unions.

The world over parents and governments are concerned with teacher performance and the world over teachers are fearful of accountability.

Mexico took a major step this week toward instituting evaluations of public schoolteachers and ending their practice of buying and inheriting their posts, but analysts said violent protests by teachers had led Congress to include provisions in the new legislation that might undermine the overhaul.

Shoring up the flagging education system has been a pillar of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s efforts to advance the country economically and move more people into the middle class. Analysts had closely watched the progress of the legislation as a sign of his ability to move forward on revamping the telecommunications and energy industries. 

The series of large-scale protests by radical factions of a teachers’ union in recent weeks paralyzed parts of the capital and sent lawmakers at one point scurrying from their chambers.

The pressure resulted in concessions that “diluted key aspects” of the original plan, the broad outlines of which were approved in December, said Sergio Cárdenas, an education expert at CIDE, a Mexico City university. The bill that passed Wednesday specified how that plan was to be put in effect.

For the first time, teachers would undergo mandatory periodic evaluations, for example, but the detailed results would remain confidential. When the overhaul was first drafted and submitted to Congress, it did not make it explicit that evaluation results would be confidential, leading experts and some lawmakers to believe that the results would be public. Analysts are calling the confidentiality clause significant because it would deny access to information in the midst of an effort to add transparency to the teaching process.

Fired teachers would also be able to appeal their cases in court, something the administration wanted to avoid.

Still, the legislation made major changes in a system where teachers had traditionally bought, sold or inherited positions — a practice that many say has led to the hiring of underqualified teachers. Under the new regulations, teachers will eventually be chosen in an open competition among university graduates. The legislation would also force the state to provide free teacher and administrator training.

Taking tenure to extreme lengths.

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