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Wednesday, July 18 2018 @ 10:50 AM EDT

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Molinar Asks Parents To Send Their Children To School

Schools & Education
Lucy Molinar - Minister of Education in Panama
Lucy Molinar - Minister of Education in Panama
The Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, once again called on parents to send their children to school in spite of the strike called by eight teachers unions. Molinar said we cannot allow ourselves to be "kidnapped" by a group of teachers who refuse to accept that the education system has changed, and that they cannot achieve their goals by shouting and making threats. She said the Ministry of Education has every intention of talking with the teachers' unions, but they insist on crippling classes. Molinar said they will not compromise, and that the teacher Andres Rodriguez and other teachers who have been fired have the right to file legal resources (appeals) which will ensure due process. Molinar said she would attend a meeting today with the teachers' unions, mediated by the Catholic church, despite the suspension of classes. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: I don't think Rodriguez has that much support among the rank and file of the teacher's unions around the entire country. He broke the law, and because of his actions he was fired. Molinar is trying to fix, update, modernize, and improve the education system in Panama. And as part of her efforts they simply need to "break" these entrenched union leaders - who have been holding the system hostage for decades. In short, things can't improve until guys like Rodriguez are gone. I hope she hangs tough.

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Talks Fail - Teachers Strike Starts Tomorrow

Schools & EducationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The public teachers union have called for a nationwide strike, starting tomorrow at 7:00 am. There was a meeting tonight that ended at 8:15 pm between representatives from the teachers' union and the Ministry of Education, moderated by the Catholic church. The primary demand of the teachers was the reinstatement of union leader Andres Rodriguez, who was fired last month from his position at a school in Colon. Apparently those talks failed, and the union has called for a strike.

In their statement they called on parents to keep their children at home. In fact, it remains to be seen if the teachers have enough support among the rank and file of their members to pull off a strike in support of Andres Rodriguez. Chances are they will be able to shut down a few schools, but probably not the entire school system. Let's see how it pans out. As of right now, the strike starts tomorrow morning.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Rodriguez Gives MEDUCA Deadline and Ultimatum

Schools & EducationThe secretary of the Teachers Association of the Republic of Panama, Andres Rodriguez, gave the Ministry of Education until 2:00 pm today to reinstate him and start a dialog with the teachers. Otherwise, Rodriguez said they will face an indefinite strike by teachers unions, starting tomorrow. The General Secretary of the Trade Union of Construction Workers and Allied (SUNTRACS) Genaro Lopez confirmed yesterday that they would join the strike. Lopez said picketing will be done in buildings on Calle 50 and in Paitilla to protest the decision of the director of the Abel Bravo school Leticia Paddy de Holder to fire the teacher's union leader. Although the notice of dismissal was given on July 31, the teacher continues to go to the campus. Faced with the ultimatum yesterday from the teachers, the Deputy Minister of Education Mirna de Crespo, invited the leaders to "assess the negative consequences" that would be generated by a potential work stoppage. She said taking a rapprochement, MEDUCA would propitiate, in time, through the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Rodriguez knows he doesn't have enough support among the public school teachers to matter, so the SUNTRACS guys are coming out to provide some troops in support. But I doubt they will really go to the mat, either. When they say they will "picket" in front of a building on Calle 50, what that means is they will pull one of their 20 minute lunchtime strikes - in which they come down out of the building where they are working to block traffic for 20 minutes to make a statement - and then they are back on the job and working before the riot police have the time to show up. In other words, a symbolic show of solidarity, but not going "all in" to support Rodriguez.

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Why Was Andrés Rodríguez Fired? (Caught On Video)

Schools & EducationA number of faults generated the dismissal of Professor Andrés Rodríguez, among them the blockading of the office of the Principal and Vice Principal at the Abel Bravo school where he worked, an act that was caught on camera and used as the primary evidence of his failures. The Deputy Director of the Abel Bravo school, Nitzia Murillo, explained that the incident took place in October 2011, and it was an act of disrespect for the authorities on the campus. The teacher Andres Rodriguez was dismissed a few weeks ago, there have been protest actions by some teachers since then in response, and they have even threatened to go on strike. The Deputy Minister of Education Mirna de Crespo appealed to the conscience of the good teachers to remain in their posts, because they are responsible, and they work to improve the education system. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Ah, they caught him being a disrespectful rabble rousing idiot on video. Good for them. Adios, asshole...

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Public School Teachers Union Says Strike Is Imminent

Schools & EducationThe National Teachers Board met on Saturday, August 4, in the city of Santiago, to take action in response to the situations in the education system throughout the country. Professor Yadira Espino told RPC Radio "from this moment a national strike begins," and adding "the only thing that can stop the strike is a serious negotiating table."

"We will not allow our dignity to be trampled," said Espino, who also called on parents to cope with what she calls a "dictatorship in education", because the Minister Lucy Molinar, said the teacher, just wants to impose her will. Yadira Espino said the strike is for the sake of education, to ensure its quality. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The conflict and tension between the teachers' union and Minister Lucy Molinar comes to a head with the dismissal of the union leader Andres Rodriguez. Putting about three years of history in a nutshell, Molinar is trying to make some real and serious changes and improvements in the Panamanian national public school system, and the deeply entrenched teachers union is resisting those changes at every step. The old system gave them way too much power and say over how the things were done, and the teachers would always (100% of the time) make decisions that are good for them, and not necessarily the best thing for the students. Molinar takes the opposite approach - that the needs of the kids come first, and the personal wants and desires of the teachers come second. It was only a matter of time before this long simmering conflict came to a head. I still don't think Andres Rodriguez commands enough support to generate a large scale nation wide strike, so therefore I think this is more bark than bite. They can probably shut down a few schools, but not the whole system.

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Teachers Should Educate By Example, Says Molinar

Schools & EducationThe Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, said no one is above the law, referring to the dismissal of the teacher Andres Rodriguez. She said Rodriguez should be a model for others and set an example, but not violently. Teachers from the Leonila Pinzón de Grimaldo Professional and Technical Institute have staged three protests on the Panamerican Highway closing one lane of traffic, demanding that the Minister reinstate Andres Rodriguez to this position, threatening to clamp down on Monday. However, the Minister of Education, who was at an event in the city of Penonomé, said teachers should teach by example and not by violence in the streets.

Molinar said nobody is above the law, and if they violate a rule then they will have to face the consequences. "Professor Rodriguez should not use violence, and now show such inappropriate behavior, which is why I recommend that he should make use of the tools provided for in the law, and request a reconsideration to be returned to his position with maturity and serenity, required by someone who holds it in their chest to be a teacher," she said. (Panama America)

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Teachers in Colon Protest Firing of Rodriguez

Schools & EducationAfter the dismissal of the teacher Andres Rodriguez,, who is also the representative of the Association of Teachers of the Republic of Panama (Asoprof), teachers at the Abel Bravo school in the province of Colon have conducted protest actions, because they want to know what Rodriguez was fired. The director of that school, Leticia de Holder, said she has not refused to give the grounds the teacher, and today, Thursday August 2, she will give him the copies of the documents containing the reasons why he was terminated. The school keeps giving classes irregularly, as well as others such as the Jose Guardia Vega School and Institute Rufus A. Garay. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: This guy isn't going to just go away quietly. He makes noise - that's what he does. Even if he was caught doing something, he's still going to make it look like it was all someone else's fault. And on another note - still not a single word in the Panama America about the Punta Chame case. That alone tells me there's an excellent chance that whoever was behind it is a CD party member.

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Fired Teacher Andrés Rodríguez Files Request For Reconsideration

Schools & EducationAndres Rodriguez, the Secretary General of the Association of Teachers of the Republic of Panama, filed a motion for reconsideration before the general direction of the Abel Bravo school, who issued an order of dismissal against him. Rodriguez said the action of dismissal taken by the director of the Abel Bravo school, Leticia Paddy de Holder, is a persecution, because he was declared not guilty of the administrative offense of which he is accused. Rodriguez was accompanied by a group of teachers of the school, who additionally declared a work stoppage in support of the teachers' union leader. They warned they will seek the solidarity of teachers from other schools so that the suspension of classes is widespread in the province of Colon. Three disciplinary cases have been opened against Professor Rodriguez. Meanwhile, Education Ministry officials insist that the disciplinary process against Rodriguez met all requirements established by the Organic Law of Education. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: It's a common thing here in Panama. Many times when there's an action taken such as this, the decision to fire Andrés Rodríguez from his teaching position, the very first level of appeal is to formally ask for a "reconsideration" from the same people who decided to fire him in the first place. They will most likely deny his request, and then the appeal process will go on up the chain from there. In fact there are thousands of public school teachers in Panama, and Andrés Rodríguez only represents a relatively small minority faction. There's not enough support for this guy in the system to shut down the school system, for example. He can muster a small crowd, but not a massive following.

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MEDUCA Says There's No Persecution Against Andrés Rodríquez

Schools & Education
Andrés Rodríquez - Public School Teacher Union Leader in Panama
Andrés Rodríquez - Public School Teacher Union Leader in Panama
The Human Resources Director of the Ministry of Education, Silvia Garcia said today Wednesday 1 August that the decision to fire Professor Andres Rodriguez was made by the school where he worked, and not by the Meduca. Garcia said the persecution by the institution are independent, and are done in accordance with the law. She said the decision was not taken by the Ministry of Education, but rather by the school principal, Leticia Paddy. She clarified while speaking on the channel 13 Telemetro Report morning news broadcast, that the dismissal comes as the result of an investigation carried out the the Director of the Abel Bravo school, in response to a complaint filed against the teacher, so therefore a disciplinary investigation was opened.

According to Garcia, the teacher (Rodriguez) was allowed to talk about (respond to ) the complaint against him, and he was also given the right to have the assistance of legal counsel during the process, however that did not happen. Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of the Abel Bravo school Nitzia Murillo added "the work of the teacher is teaching, and being a living example inside and outside of the institution." In a telephone interview Murillo said the decision was made ​​based on disciplinary proceedings started in October 2011, with a due process of guarantees. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Last night at about 7:30 pm the news broke this guy Andrés Rodríquez had been fired from his position as a teacher at the Abel Bravo school. Rodríquez is a member of the group I call the "perennial ankle biters" - meaning - he's been a pain in the ass to successive administrations going as far back as Mireya Moscoso, if I remember correctly. He is a rabble-rousing leader of the public teacher's union, but unfortunately he's one of those people who have extreme left-wing political views, and he vast bulk of the rank and file of the people he supposedly represents don't share those views. Rodríquez first hit my radar with the FRENADESO movement, and effort to consolidate smaller groups of similarly minded ankle biters. And now apparently they were able to open some sort of a disciplinary process against him, make it stick, and fire his ass. A small group of his supporters blocked a street somewhere last night in protest, and the action taken by the school principal was all over the morning news today. Of course he will scream bloody murder and make claims of political persecution, and meanwhile the MEDUCA folks are refusing to talk about the contents of the complaint against him, alleging privacy concerns. If Andrés Rodríquez wants the press to really know what's going on, he can get a copy of the case file, and give it to reporters. But, he probably won't do that - because they probably did catch him doing something wrong. Once again, let's see how this plays out over time.

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Looking For Solutions To Help Kids Affected By Pueblo Nuevo Fire

Schools & EducationAuthorities of the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) went to Calle 15 in Pueblo Nuevo today, to the place where the fire occurred last Friday afternoon, to conduct a census to see how many students are not going to their schools because of this fire. They counted a total of 37 students between primary and secondary schools, who were given backpacks with notebooks and school supplies. According to Federico Castro, the Regional Director of Education for the Panama Centro, in the coming days they will be conducting a meeting with the principals of schools for these students to assess the situation, so that these young children do not lose the school year. Also it was learned these families will be given a total of $900 or $150 per month over the next six months, to help them pay rent to find a place to live. On 25 July there will be a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Housing and Land Management (Miviot) to find a permanent solution for these people. (Dia a Dia)

Editor's Comment: Two wooden buildings were destroyed in this fire. Each one had 36 apartments, so a total of 72 families were made homeless. They spent the weekend living in hotels, paid for by the government. It's always a shame when there's a fire, but these were poor people who lost everything they owned. Of course none of them have any kind of insurance, so they are depending on help from the government and donations from strangers to get back on their feet.

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