Friday, November 12, 2010

Very Wealthy Union

Last week, Milenio's Sunday magazine had a long article about Mexico's educational travails, focusing on Andrés Oppenheimer's new book as well as a new documentary featuring Carlos Loret de Mola. Oppenheimer tries to get a copy of the SNTE 's budget, which Elba Esther Gordillo promises to send, but then never does. But he does report that educational experts peg the size of the annual operating budget at $4.7 billion, which would be close to twice the amount of annual revenues from Burger King, a company with more than 12,000 franchises. That figure may be high, but it doesn't strike me as impossible; the union has 1.7 million members, and lots of investments that we only hear about when they explode in scandal.

Two other highlights, so to speak, of the piece: Gordillo responding to tough questions from Loret by taking his hand in hers and asking, "Don't you trust me?", which couldn't be more hilarious and lacking in self-awareness if it came from Don King; and Alonso Lujambio dismissing international tests with the complaint that "They want to compare us to Switzerland, to Germany", which is, of course, precisely the point.

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