The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), the national teachers’ union in Mexico, represents over 1.2 million members, and is the largest union in Latin America. More than half of SNTE’s total membership is composed of primary and secondary teachers. Members include teachers, school administrators, education bureaucrats, janitors, cafeteria workers, and school aides. Member dues amount to $60 million dollars per year, but this income does not consider the “donations” used to obtain teaching positions. The union’s power has prevented the government from implementing teacher training or evaluations to determine the efficiency of teachers. How has the union evolved into a major political player with the leadership of Elba Esther Gordillo? How does the union’s authority affect the achievement level of students enrolled in public schools? And, what are the roles of educators at the local and federal levels?
Through my research I aim to unveil how the union has gained immense power in the political arena. By understanding the political structure and culture of Mexico, the union’s protection from public critique will be better understood. The lack of accountability and transparency within the union is the reason why it is producing poor quality teachers, and thus, placing Mexico on the bottom of the OECD countries. While the problem lies in the structure of the federal government, is not feasible to recommend a full restructure. My policies focus on initial methods to reduce the union’s influence at the federal and state levels. I propose initiatives to modify Carrera Magisterial, a teacher incentive program. Control of Carrera Magisterial has allowed the union to keep in secret the incompetence of teachers and the union’s bias towards hiring individuals subjectively.