According to Jorge Castaneda, author of "Manana Tomorrow", only Carlos Slim and Televisa have more power than the head of the teachers union, Elba Esther Gordillo (president for life). I tried to post a couple of articles about her in early June that talked about corruption in our education system. I don't think I did the "add link" button right, but Buela saved me by posting them a post she did. There is a new article about her in the LA Times today. It makes my blood boil to read about how her corrupt administration of the 1 1/2 million member union is a least a significant cause of Mexico's horrendous educational system. The lack of a good education of the youth of Mexico is a big factor in the growth of the cartels. Pancho Villa in his retirement years (during which time he built several schools for peasants in the small villages) said "my poor poor Mexico, she will always be poor until she educates her children". Some quotes from the Times article:
"The most powerful woman in Mexico carries $5,000 Hermes purses and can make or break a presidency."
"Elba Esther Gordillo commands the patronage of more than 1.5 million teachers, and in election years, that means more than 1.5 million votes. Almost every political party courts her.
Yet scandal has forever dogged her, including accusations of illegal self-enrichment and even murder. No charges ever stuck, making her seem untouchable. Her union reportedly takes in millions in government money while she, once a humble teacher from Mexico's poorest south, lives much of the time in luxurious properties in Southern California.
Gordillo's critics say her extravagances during 22 years as union president might not be so bothersome if the state of education in Mexico were not so abysmal.
Although her union has worked successfully to improve salaries and working conditions for teachers (they get out of teaching class the last Friday of each month), it has failed to improve the quality of education.
Last year, slightly more than half of high school students flunked the math portion of standardized tests, while more than a third flunked Spanish. Mexican students scored the lowest reading levels of developed countries in the most recent survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Meanwhile, in 2010, 75% of teachers-in-training failed the exam that would have placed them in a job, and last year only 1% of working teachers passed a test that would have raised their salaries.
Add to that: Many schools don't have running water, and a 2008 inspection found 33,000 schools nationwide were in need of serious repairs."
"Many in Mexico see her as a symbol of the corruption and monopolistic concentration of power that have long plagued the country and undermined its efforts to modernize and become more democratic. She is widely feared, and no administration has proved itself willing to take her on."
The article states a group of unionized teachers is threatening to denounce her to he International Labor Organization for abuse of power. I am not sure what that would accomplish, but unlike many problems relating to solutions for Mexico's problems, this seems to me to be one that the people could do something about. I can understand how many teachers would be reluctant to stand up to the head of their union, especially one as powerful as she is, but if enough parents of school children would raise hell, I would think there would be something done about her.
I know this is not as exciting as a beheading or a big bust, but it is part of rooting out corruption that is needed so much in MX.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
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