Officials wrench control of schools from Mexico unions

In this Aug. 24, 2015 photo, children line up during the first day of school in Oaxaca, Mexico. (Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez / AP)
In this Aug. 24, 2015 photo, children line up during the first day of school in Oaxaca, Mexico. (Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez / AP)

By Peter Orsi / Associated Press

It looked like a normal first day of school at Patria Libre elementary. Uniformed kids sporting brand-new backpacks with their favorite cartoon characters β€” Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, the “Frozen” heroines β€” reunited with classmates and sang the national anthem.

But that’s far from normal in Oaxaca, a Mexican state where teachers’ strikes and protests cost the average student 50 days out of the 200-day academic calendar last year, according to federal education officials.

“Every year there has been a strike. … I’ve seen my kids falling behind, and we’ve had to support them at home so they can learn,” said Claudia Rodriguez Sosa, a 33-year-old mother of three students from pre- to high school.

Some parents say teachers threatened not to pass their children if they didn’t support the union, whose demands ranged from higher pay to the resignation of a former governor.

Now that seems to be changing as a national education reform pushed by President Enrique Pena Nieto takes root in the last strongholds of resistance by teachers’ unions.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/officials-wrench-control-schools-mexico-unions-33527431

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