By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
Mexico’s government is gaining the upper hand against a militant teacher’s group in the southern state of Oaxaca, an opponent that has long proved just as hard to corral as billionaire scofflaws and powerful drug cartels.
In recent weeks, the federal and state governments, seeking to implement a signal overhaul of education, fired and replaced some 300 members of a powerful group of dissident teachers from their management positions at Oaxaca’s education agency. The group, the National Coordinator of Educational Workers or CNTE, has for decades controlled hiring in public education there and in some of Mexico’s other poorest states, including through practices like selling teacher posts and engaging in violent and disruptive protests.
On Wednesday, pressure against the group mounted when Mexico’s attorney general office confirmed that two judges have ordered the arrest of 15 CNTE teachers in Oaxaca on charges of trying to disrupt June mid-term parliamentary elections. Lawyers for the teachers say they will file for an injunction.
The moves are part of a push by the government to face down the dissident teachers, who have gone on strike almost every year since the late 1970s, often paralyzing sections of the country and leaving millions of children without classes.