Mexico’s Nepotism Problem And What It Means For America

In America, only rich people have school choice, such is the stranglehold the union has over education. Poor and middle income people find themselves stuck with what they get. When it comes to education, the Teacher’s Union is not pro-choice. They are for salaries disconnected from performance and they are for guaranteed employment.

The Mexican Teacher’s Union makes America’s Teacher’s Union seem positively pro-rigorous standards. The Houston Chronicle reports:

At the heart of the conflict is the “Alliance for Quality Education,” a national plan to professionalize teachers and hold them accountable for their students’ performances. The plan was ratified in May by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Elba Esther Gordillo, the leader of the country’s 1.6 million-member National Education Workers Union, and sent to Mexico’s 31 state governments and Federal District for approval.

Changing the system
The protesters accuse Gordillo, who recently declared herself the union’s leader for life, of striking a deal with Calderon to retain her grip on power — at the expense of decades of hard-fought labor gains.

“We’re fighting to guarantee jobs for our kids,” Oscar Miranda said as he helped teachers stage a protest in front of the governor’s office in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos.

“Throughout history,” Miranda said, “the sons of carpenters have become carpenters. Even politicians’ children become politicians. Why shouldn’t our children have the same right?”

So the teachers in Mexico fight for nepotism. How progressive!

I have written before, and can’t find the post now–it was at the old blog, about the lack of American acculturation by Mexican illegal immigrants and further about how this one particular aspect of Mexican culture is troubling because it is at odds with an essential element of being American. That is, that family trumps merit.

Essentially, families handle relationships en mass. Jobs are kept within the family and disputes handled through parents or the patriarch or matriarch. This tradition works at direct odds with American culture where a family connection might get a person an interview and maybe even a job, but where gross incompetence will not be forgiven based on family name. Now, I recognize that this does happen, but it is rare and usually confined to family businesses.

In Mexico, where there is no middle class to speak of, people keep power by keeping family in power. And now, the Teacher’s Union wants to do the same thing. This is not a good development for the country, but it is revealing.

Immigrants to America should understand that it’s not family name, but accomplishment that means success. There are individual freedoms that get lost in a nepotistic system. To be included as part of the family can mean sublimating a gift. I had a Mexican friend who was going to college in private for fear of her family’s response.

At any rate, legal immigration is fine. People have to work hard for a long time to earn their American citizenship. And it is something people should have to earn. Illegal immigration where thousands of people bring aspects of a culture that run exactly counter to what America stands for is not fine. It is destructive.

Considering that both John McCain and Barack Obama support some form of Amnesty, I think it would be wise to ponder what that would mean for American culture.

Cross-posted at

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