After the Earthquake: Issues of Class

education1

Analysis by Reporting San Diego

Oct 18, 2017 (San Diego) We were alerted to this situation in the State of Mexico, and given that some of our readers have deep roots in Mexico, we thought this was important. However, this is not just an issue of a Mexican government that is corrupt. Disasters always reveal those sharp lines of class and access to the means to put pressure.

Some background is critical though. After the two quakes of Sep 7 and Sep 19, all classes were suspended across all affected states and Mexico City. The intent from state authorities, which is laudable, was to make sure that each school was safe for students to return to. So they committed, all across these states, and Mexico City, to physically check each school for structural damage. Some of these schools are very old. Parents have reported damage to walls, as well as windows that were broken and in a few cases staircases that were damaged. So bringing in structural engineers made sense. In fact, it made a lot of sense.

Parents originally understood this. The goal was also to return to classes in groups. The manpower did not exist to check every school at the same time. So while schools are back in session, some schools are not. At one point, the government said that this would take three weeks, but it has been more than a month since the Sep 19 earthquake. Some schools may go back next week, or the week after that. The question now has to be asked. How many students will effectively lose their school year? What effect will this have on school attendance and drop-out rates?

This will have a definite negative effect on students. And while school authorities, in some cases, are now sending parents homework over their phones, others are not. The schools who are sending the homework are aware that there is some serious damage being done to these students educational attainment. They also were told to do so, as part of the educational plans.

So we looked carefully at the Facebook portal for the Services Educativos Integrados at Estado de Mexico, where parents and interested third parties (we know a child in this particular circumstance, for full disclosure) have reported several irregularities. These range from the following. The school has not been checked. The school was checked, in some cases, it has the necessary documentation from two government authorities to resume operations, but has not been added to the list published by the government of schools that have begun operations. Or the school is on the list but lacks the paperwork.

This certificate is issued by  Protección Civil (Civil Defense) or la inspección técnica del Instituto Mexiquense de la Infraestructura Física Educativa a las Instalaciones. (Technical inspection of the State of Mexico Institute for Physical Infrastructure for educational Facilities, IMIFE for their initials in Spanish)

This is a good example of the posts on the Facebook page:

Veronica Vives La escuela primaria Vasco de Quiroga cct. 15DPR3130M de Tecámac. Seguimos sin aparecer en listas. Necesitamos regresar a clases, se acercan las evaluaciones y les afectara más a los niños.

Además no podemos cumplir con el mantenimiento de la escuela.

>Ya tenemos ambos dictamenes que requieren. De la página de gobierno del Estado de México me canalizaron a esta, y desde entonces si nisiquiera se molestan en contestar los mensajes.

Que nos hace falta? Requerimos respuestas.

Translation: The Primary school Vasco de Quiroga, government registry 15DPR3130M of Tecamac, continues to not appear on the lists. We need to go back to school, tests are approaching, and this will affect the children.

Moreover, we cannot maintain the school (in Mexico parents do a lot of the cleanup and maintenance in some schools).

We have both documents. We have spoken to the state of Mexico, and they have not answered any messages. What do we still need? We need answers.

She provided photos of the two documents. We are including them.

However, we decided to look at each of the schools that were reported, where the government issued numeric code or school name and municipality were provided. We found an uncanny pattern in all 16 schools we found (mind you there are tens of thousands of schools in the state, so to be very fair, this is a minute sample). All of them served working class, poor families, or were in marginal areas in some cases rural.

Parents also complained that private schools seem not to have these issues. This is a claim we have not been able to verify independently. Moreover, both private and public schools appear on the government list every day.

There is one note that matters here. We did contact the Department of Education first after the earthquake, not as reporters, but as interested parties. We were told that the return would be in stages and that they would publish the lists as soon as they were available. After the name of the school appeared in the list on for Oct 17, the mother of the child was told that maybe next week. Again I contacted the Department of Education and was informed that the list is the gold standard for a return to school. So if a school is on the list it is in session, however, it is not.

These are the schools we looked at:

 

School

Level

Municiop

Social Class

Urban

Rural

Primaria Ramon Lopez Velarde

Primary

Tlaneplanta de Baz

Working Class

X

Primaria Luz Casas Cruz

Primary

Coyoatepec

Marginalized

X

Presidente John F Kennedy

Primary

Naucalpan

Working Class

X

Prof Silvano Animas Meraz

Seondary

Chimalhuacan

Working Class

X

Jardin de Ninos de Tepoztlan

Preschool

Tepoztlan

Marginalized

X

Miguel Cervantes Saavedra

Secondary

Tecamac

Working Class

X

Othon P Blanco

Primary

Naucalpan

Working class

X

Nabor Carrillo Flores

Secondary

Netzahualcoyotl

Working Class

X

Antonio Caso

Primary

Working Class

X

Centenario de Ecatepec

Primary

Ecatepec

Working Class

X

Juan Rodrigues Puebla

Secondary

Ecatepec

Working Class

X

Ninos Heroes de Chapultepec

Primary

Jiquipilco

Working Class

X

Ernesto Vega Murillo

Primary

Metepec

Working Class

X

Francisco I Madero

Primary

Zumpango

Working class

X

 

 

We also contacted the Department of Education in the State of Mexico and asked about what looks like a pattern. We have yet to receive even an acknowledgment that they got the email. What is true is that some schools in the state have gone back to school, even when they lack the technical reports. For example, the primary school Carmen Serdan went back to classes on the 16 of this month, even though they lack the paperwork. One reason, the IMIFE said that the technical paperwork will take anywhere from 3 to 5 months, due to lack of personnel. And as of last week, half the schools in the state had yet to return to classes.

The lists have been posted every day for almost a month now. But if what we found is part of a more extensive pattern, we must ask what is going on? The most devious of us would even ask, is somebody trying to cook the books and make it look like something is happening that it is not? Education, and improving it, was a promise of the present administration, at both the federal and state level. The reforms enacted have not produced the results promised.

We must also raise the possibility that this is the beginning of disaster capitalism. It would not be the first time that a disaster provides opportunities. Oh, and for those looking for parallels, this is not that different than the post Katrina environment in New Orleans. In Mexico, public education is guaranteed by the state. It is a right in the Constitution. That does not mean that we should not ask a lot of questions.

And an interesting piece of data from the Hoy Estado de Mexico from Sep 27. They report 60 percent of all private schools were back in session.
A slight update. We did get a form letter on our enquiry. We are posting it as it. 

Agradecemos tu visita al sitio oficial de la Secretaria de Educación del Gobierno del Estado de México.
En atención a tu solicitud y para brindarte una mejor orientación, te proporcionamos los siguientes datos:
Para reportar planteles con motivo del regreso a clases:

Estatal: 01 (722) 2-14-17-96

Federal (SEIEM): 01 (722)2-65-12-00

 

También se recomienda comunicarse con la Supervisión Escolar a la que este adscrita el Plantel.

 

Para solicitar de manera directa la revisión de algún plantel:

Instituto Mexiquense de la Infraestructura Fisica Educativa

Boulevard Isidro Fabela Norte No. 900 Col. 3 Caminos, Toluca, Edo. de México. C.P. 50020 Teléfono: (01722) 236 05 90

Atte.

Mesa de Servicios de la

Secretaria de Educación.

Tel. (722) 2264304 | 2264300 Ext. 48320 y 48204
 

 

 

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