Mexico City, Mexico - A plan to overhaul Mexico's public education system has been ratified by 18 of the country's 31 states, officials confirmed on Wednesday. The massive reform will soon be signed into law by President Enrique Pena Nieto.
The bill, which was backed by Pena Nieto and was approved by Congress in December, calls for creation of a professional system for hiring, evaluating, and promoting teachers without the "discretionary criteria" currently used in a system where teaching positions are often bought or inherited.
"The goal of the reform is quality education and for this there are two big things needed: evaluating professional teachers and a body that will evaluate the system," said Sen. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, president of the Senate's Education Commission who confirmed the reform's approval.
The plan, which has multi-party support, will move much of the control of the public education system to the federal government and away from the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Workers - led for 23 years by Elba Esther Gordillo. Under the old law, she hires and fires teachers, and she has been accused of using union funds as her personal pocket book.
The overhaul was Pena Nieto's first major proposal since taking office on December 1st and is considered a political blow to Gordillo, who has played the role of kingmaker for many Mexican politicians. She was conspicuously absent from the announcement.Pena Nieto is expected to sign the reform into law in about a week, Romero Hicks said.