We already know about the abysmal state of education in Mexico, where students routinely score near the bottom of international testing.
But a new report by a Mexico-based think tank has revealed some real zingers, including 70 teachers who haul in more pesos than the president of the nation (the equivalent of about $15,000 a month). One impoverished state, Hidalgo, was said to have more than 1,000 teachers listed as 100 or more years old.
The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) calculated the average teacher’s monthly salary at 25,000 pesos, or nearly $2,000, making it the highest paid profession in the country.
That salary is nearly three times the average of any other salary, thanks in large part to powerful labor unions that have secured high wages for teachers, who can sell their positions to friends or bequeath them to relatives, none of whom ever have to be tested for abilities or skills.
Most of the highest paid educators are in the impoverished and violent coastal state of Veracruz.
In Hidalgo, all 1,440 centennarian teachers who top the pay scale seem to have the same birth date, IMCO said. Hidalgo’s state education secretary went on television later Thursday to clarify that the state's oldest teacher is only 84 and said the study misinterpreted some pensions as pay.
IMCO said it culled its information from reports that state governments send to the federal education department.
The full report, in Spanish, is available online.
Meanwhile, Thursday was the national Day of the Teacher. Several thousand teachers and their supporters marked the occasion by marching through Mexico City, tying up traffic and blocking government buildings.
It was a paid holiday.