August 9, 2021
From Semillas Autonomas

By Prensa Ayotzi

To understand what is happening in Ayotzinapa one needs to understand the Mexican Education System, which is not yet as privatized and standardized as the U.S. There are free schools and Universities, that claim autonomy from the Government, where the fees are very low or even sliding scale like at the ENAH, the Anthropology and History University, one can pay 50 cents to 5000 pesos a semester. Very different to the Student Loan capital that is the U.S.
The Normal Schools of Mexico were born from the Mexican Revolution. One of the demands of the farmer/workers was Free Popular Education. Later, came the creation of the FECSM, The Federation of Campesino Socialists Students of Mexico, which formed as a student body that protected the students from the injustices that are commited by the Directors and Teachers of Institutions like the SEP ( Secretary of Public Education).  The Normal Schools are particularly to train students to become primary school teachers in rural ¨impoverished¨ areas.  Most of the students themselves are from the farmer/worker class. A ¨Maestro¨ in Mexico is a teacher who is trained not only in primary education, but also receives a political and social formation through a socialist lens. So a ¨Maestro¨ is not just a simple teacher but a political position that is often against the State because of the repression of the people for interests of Capitalism. Below you will read the article written by the Ayotzinapa Students on the Education Reform that intends to disappear the Normal Schools.

Ayotzinapa cradle of social consciousness. To eradicate Normalista education is one of the main objectives of Peña Nieto’s government. The imposition of the Reform of the Normal School means completely tearing down the whole project of literacy and culture that arose after the armed struggle of the Mexican Revolution. Now it´s not about meeting the need for knowledge of the people, but following the measures and standards that the international agencies decree to perpetuate their power.

Since years ago, the decommissioning of “maestro” training schools has been brewing, through the encouragement of private institutions, and along with it, budget cuts and tuition at public colleges. This imposes competition and obvious inequalites with clear advantages for the private sector (subjugated in advance to what the rulers say).

The Normales will no longer provide teacher training to future maestros, but provide only simple “professional” abilities, lacking educational training support …

The Comprehensive Plan of Diagnostic, Redisign, and Strengthening of the Normal Schools covers four areas:

– Form “suitable” teachers.

“To guarantee the adequacy of knowledge and ability to new entrants to Teacher Professional Service …” stipulated in the reform. We know beforehand, that the students of normal schools are not “suitable” or rather, compatible with the educational system: its [the Normales] formation includes their historical role as a participant and organizer of social transformation through knowledge, and it is precisely what their efforts intend to eradicate and replace, forming a simple facilitator of basic information.

The real objective is that Normalistas have the basic studies to pass the national entrance exam, i.e they are “suitable” for the evaluations that they’ll be submitted, meeting only the requirements of the teacher profile imposed by the SEP, totally oblivious to teacher training that is required to understand and encourage the development of human beings.

– Renovate curriculum.

To meet the standards of being a “competent” teacher requires modifying the curriculum. With the Reformation to Normales the following degrees are removed: Preschool, Primary, Special, Tele- highschool, Physical Education, and Intercultural Bilingual Education.

Replacing them with 2 careers: Bachelor of Teaching and Bachelor of Inclusion.

And they complement it with 10 majors: “Language and Communication”, “Physics – mathematics”, “Natural Sciences”, “Social Sciences”, “Values and Human Development”, “Physical Education and Sports”, “Education and Cultural artistic appreciation” “Foreign Language”, “Technology for the studies and access to knowledge”, “Special Education”, “Education Management”.

These changes to the curriculum are the first steps for the creation of a Standardized Education Program, which includes the pedagogy of the Normales and Universities and pedagogical universities (public and private), Even though the latter does not have teacher training. That is, it disarms the “Maestro”, the educational project of the Normal collapses, now these schools will serve only as a means of training, and the profoundly pedagogical, didactic and comprehensive training that is needed when we teach is discarded.

The Normales will lose their meaning and will be put to the service of government institutions such as the SEP, with the function to reproduce the thoughts and behaviors that the political system needs to perpetuate their power.

We can even say that these changes are discriminatory for children, as no emphasis is placed on training teachers to help learning disabled children, children from indigenous communities, or poor children.

– Reorganization of schools.

Through the schematic Update of Management and Administration, the reform gives authority to the bureaucratic policy to handle everything related to the Normales. The amendment states that you have to define the administrative legal personality of the Normales.

The goal is clear: To stear off course the student organizations of the schools. We know that the organization of the Normal school is part of a long tradition of resistance that has impeded the progress of various projects implemented by capitalists to privatize education. Thus the attempt by the authorities to want to disappear them on the grounds that they are not within the legal and institutional framework of Normal.

However, the undemocratic stance of the reform it is evident, as it will not consider the student community and parents to make decisions about the school, thus excluding those who give life to the same institution. The Management will be the only one to make decisions. The Student Committee that exists within the rural Normal, for example, is chosen by consensus of assemblies [the Student Committee] which ensures that all students are coordinated for the internal life of the school, and although that is recognized by students and the authorities themselves, it will no longer have the power to influence.

– Changes in administrative structure and budget

The disappearance of the various forms of Normalismo lurks under the ´Institutional Improvement´ speech in the country. In the end, the educational specialization (primary, physical education, bilingual intercultural, etc.) which are also the characteristics that give identity to each school: will be just one model, standardized, that does not address the educational needs that is sought to cover with the formation of the students.

The Rural Normales, for example, are the only ones in the form of boarding and dining room, and are governed by 5-axis (academic, political, sporting, cultural, production modules) that come together in the pedagogical training, so that the teacher acquires comprehensive education that seeks to address the social conditions of rural communities.

All this disappears upon entry into force of reform, as it no longer distinguish between normal, private rural, urban, public and will stop the budget allocated to the maintenance of the dining room and boarding. Although they are the children of peasants and poor people who come to the Rural Normal for the help they provided to their students, this is irrelevant to the education authorities, the State ceases to assume its responsibility to meet basic needs for the education of the people.

This reform was not made in consulttion with students and academics from Normal schools, it is rather a plan that was being developed with the complicity of the SNTE and SEP to meet the requests of the Federal Government due to the international bodies of political powers of capitalism.

It is imposed in a context of open repression of student teachers: police brutality has been the method used by the government to try to stop one of the organized sectors of society that hinder their interests, As seen in the repression of normalistas of Michoacan and the disappearance in the Normal school, Ayotzinapa.

In addition, previously there was a media campaign by the [corporate]media to discriminate and incrimintate Normalistas for the actions of civil disobedience and resistance they carry out: the student protest is not compatible with the education required by the capitalist system to increase their wealth.

Students from the Rural Normal, Ayotzinapa we reject this project that does nothing for teacher training, and denounce it as it is rather about opening doors for businesses to influence the internal affairs of the country and continue with the privatization of Education.

We, however, advocate the resumption of revolutionary principles of literacy and culture; that our education is aimed at addressing and resolving the problems of the people; our teacher training is appropriate in providing tools to the context in which we impart classes; the student organization is respected, the Normal schools consulted, Academics, Parents and the Communities, to improve teacher training colleges; to guide our curriculum to strengthen and deepen educational projects like the alternative pteo, the Altamiranistas Schools Guerrero and Michoacan Alternative Schools, driven by the teachers of the CNTE.

EDUCATION FIRST to the Workers Children!

Primary education is paramount, it will not disappear from NORMAL SCHOOL!