And you thought our teachers’ union was bad? We’ve just published a piece by William & Mary Prof. George Grayson identifying Mexico’s stupefyingly corrupt teachers’ union one of the reasons that country is so screwed up and can’t hold on to its own people. The leader of the union, one Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, makes Jimmy Hoffa look positively civic-minded. Among other evidence of her venality:
“Her acquisition of at least four apartments and six houses in the exclusive Lomas de Chapultepec and Polanco neighborhoods of Mexico City, valued at $6.8 million (68 million pesos); property in the deluxe Coronado Cays development in San Diego, Calif., where her yacht is moored; properties in France, England, and Argentina; private jets; and “a personal fortune … [of more] than $300 million in cash,” according to a longtime key operative.”
The teachers union in Mexico might be more corrupt, powerful, and destructive than our own teachers unions. But not by all that much — our teachers unions also deal in corruption, protect bad teachers, and block education reforms –- and it shows.
Mexico comes out worse than the US on international tests, but we’re down there at the bottom with them. Our kids do worse in math than Azerbaijan, worse in reading than Poland, and worse in science than kids in the Czech Republic. It’s sad but no surprise that the average graduation rate in America’s 50 largest cities is only 52 percent according to the non-partisan America’s Promise Alliance.
And unlike Mexico, we spend mountains of money on education. The New York Times reported that out of 40 countries, the U.S. had “the poorest outcomes per dollar spent on education” in 2003.
If we don’t do something about the teachers unions’ deathgrip on public education, the future of U.S. education is in Mexico. Except more expensive.