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Mexican School System Mired in Corruption

September 7, 2014
Plain English Version
Abuse Meter

Abuse Meter

A billboard in Mexico City shows how much of Mexico’s education money is wasted. It is called the abusómetro – the “abuse meter.” It states that about $2.8 billion is wrongly spent every year.

Most of it goes into the pockets of no-show teachers and no-work bureaucrats. There are nearly 300,000 of them.

An advocate said, “It is the robbery of the century, and it is every year. The corruption is massive.”

The evidence is everywhere. Nearly one-third of Mexico’s public schools do not have drinkable water. About 11 percent have no electricity. It is not for want of money. More than 90 percent of the education budget is spent on staff. A report from an international organization says Mexico spends more for staff than other countries.

Mexico’s growing middle-class expects more. It is up against the old guard. The young want transparency and data. The bureaucracies want secrecy and paperwork.

An expert said the abusómetro would start to shame the politicians. It is an example of public opinion using the Latin code of honor. It is a way to shame the self-serving.

The Mexican government has said nothing. It did pass a law to train and evaluate future teachers. Many teachers opposed the evaluation part of the law.

One parent said, “They brag about all the money spent on education. But the quality never improves.” There have been decades of nepotism and patronage. Some fear that moving too fast will endanger reform.

Many others are impatient.

Source: The New York Times September 1, 2014

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