The reform is likely to pass Congress since it already enjoys backing from the major parties. But the teachers may push back hard against the changes. A former PRI grandee who broke with her old party before the
2006 general election, Gordillo was re-elected in October and escaped a recent bid by the conservative National Action Party (PAN) to impose more transparency on the country's unions that would have weakened her position. The PRI had strong ties with the union during the 71 years
it ruled Mexico before the PAN ousted it in a 2000 election. There have been mounting calls for Gordillo's removal as union leader but "la maestra" ("the teacher") has a tight hold on a small party the PRI needs for votes and it is unlikely to cooperate with Pena Nieto if his government tries to oust her. The reform, according to politicians at the event, includes measures aimed at giving more autonomy to schools, voiding promotions not based on merit, and launching a nationwide survey to register teachers and students.
It also would grant independence to an organization charged with evaluating the educational system.
"We all agree on a central point: we urgently need to reform and modernize the legal framework for higher quality, more equitable education," said Pena Nieto.