October 15, 2008
As the Holy Rabbi would say, it could always be worse. While Bob Schieffer told the nation last night that our education system trails "most of the countries of the world," surely he didn't have Mexico in mind. Consider this: Mexican teachers have the right to sell their positions for cold hard cash (going prices have been as high as a teacher's starting annual salary--$6,000) and to bequeath their classroom to a family member. (One teacher explained this outrageous practice thusly: "Throughout history, the sons of carpenters have become carpenters. Even politicians' children become politicians. Why shouldn't our children have the same right?") The government is moving to reform some of this madness, leading to teacher strikes that have been wreaking havoc since August. Meanwhile, fall classes haven't even started in a number of places, leaving nearly 500,000 children in the lurch. Seems like only having the chickens, the rooster, and the goose in the house isn't that bad after all. Mexico has the whole farm.
"For Mexico's Teachers, Jobs are Things to Inherit or Sell, and They're on Strike to Keep it That Way," by Marion Lloyd, Houston Chronicle, October 12, 2008