Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paying Attention to the Wrong Things

In Friday's column, Macario Schettino admonished everyone in Mexico wasting time arguing about alliances, pacts, and the rest, pointing out that while the bickering continues, Mexico ignores other problems with serious consequences, i.e. education. He goes on to mention that the system is deficient both in churning out the relatively well educated masses and in the producing the super educated elite. The educational shortcomings are especially important now, for the following reasons:
At this point, the largest population group in our history is in middle school. In two years, the population at that scholastic level will begin to contract, as it has done with elementary school since 2000. Mexico will no longer be a young country, which is the famous demographic bonus. The unfortunate part is that the majority of those who have passed through schools have been served by a useless educational system.
Schettino also returns to a point he has made in the past, that lots of people focus exclusively on Elba Esther Gordillo as the problem in Mexico's educational structure, and that while she may be a problem, it's naive to think getting rid of her will turn Mexican schools into Singapore's. I think that's absolutely right, and the media shares responsibility here. Unfortunately, most of the coverage of the nation's education travails resembles horse race coverage of power politics, Lujambio versus Gordillo in a 15-round heavyweight brawl and all that. That's either incomplete or simply wrong. Gordillo is a particularly menacing symptom of a corrupt system, not the omnipotent cause of all that is wrong with Mexico's schools.

For the record, tomorrow marks the four-week anniversary of Gómez Mont's resignation from the PAN. That story or one of its various offshoots has been the dominant story every week since.

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