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So, how much for a good grade?
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:37 pm    Post subject: So, how much for a good grade? Reply with quote

This is related to my recent post on grade inflation. I've been talking with Mexicans recently about that topic. Central to their views on the subject is their belief that most parents who send their kids to an expensive private school have their own business which they have built through bribing politicians not great business insight or hard work.

They feel the kids see that and think that is just the way the world works. I was speaking last night with a Mexican who teaches at the secondary level at an expensive private school in Mexico City. He claimed that he is the only tough grader at the school. He said the principal therefore thinks he is the worst teacher at the school because his kids get the lowest grades.

What really stood out to me was that he claimed when he gave a bad grade to a kid the response was usually, "so, how much for a good grade?" If I remember right, when he rejected the proposal the 11 or 12 year old kid will come back with an offer of 500 to 800 pesos. He said he didn't take the money but he suspects many other teachers do at the school.

Have you run into this pay for grade system where you taught? I only have a small window into education here and am going by what I hear.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Have you run into this pay for grade system where you taught? I only have a small window into education here and am going by what I hear.


No, never.

Quote:
Central to their views on the subject is their belief that most parents who send their kids to an expensive private school have their own business which they have built through bribing politicians not great business insight or hard work.


Bit of advice? You should really associate with a better class of person/teacher.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Central to their views on the subject is their belief that most parents who send their kids to an expensive private school have their own business which they have built through bribing politicians not great business insight or hard work.


Bit of advice? You should really associate with a better class of person/teacher.[/quote]

Actually, that is what Mexicans in general tell me: doctors, university professors, K-12 teachers, cab drivers, housewives, etc. Their commenting on the morals of the business class doesn't make them a lower class of person.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On expatforum.com in the Mexican section someone just posted this:

"Having come through the US educational system and not having seen much cheating, I have been a bit surprised how open cheating is here in Mexico. I have been perturbed by it endlessly. From the very first year when I made friends with the hostel manager in Merida back in 2006 who told me he had passed his math course in his final year of high school by presenting the teacher with a bottle of tequila to the most recent revelation by a student just this week, I can but shake my head in wonderment.

Wednesday, being the last day of classes for the semester students milled around my desk to wish me adieu. One students, particularly fond of me, lingered more than the rest. ...
Apparently her boyfriend was a student in another department at the same university. One of his teachers had a bribery scale. To pass his course one had to pay 200 pesos. To get a decent grade, 500 pesos and to get a perfect grade a 1,000 pesos. Of course I was angered, but also surprised that she had confided this in me.

...

This had not been the first time that a teacher had been accused of taking bribes. Four years ago when I first started teaching at this university, a colleague who I did not particularly like left to take a full time position at the public university I had just left. I did not know why.

In the past few months I learned likewise that he had been asking for bribes to pass courses and had gotten fired. He was refused severance pay of 15,000 pesos. He took the school to court and won, but never was rehired.

I've had a few runins with corrupt teachers and stood my ground, to no avail. One was a department chair who was changing my grades for students downward for those she did not like. After 2 months I quit that job 6 years ago in DF."

So, anyone seen this type of thing?

You don't have to worry about it at my uni because the professors give almost straight A's since their job stability is 100% dependent on upward feedback from students.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I was rather terse with my response, and not very nice.

Quote:
I was speaking last night with a Mexican who teaches at the secondary level at an expensive private school in Mexico City. He claimed that he is the only tough grader at the school. He said the principal therefore thinks he is the worst teacher at the school because his kids get the lowest grades.

What really stood out to me was that he claimed when he gave a bad grade to a kid the response was usually, "so, how much for a good grade?" If I remember right, when he rejected the proposal the 11 or 12 year old kid will come back with an offer of 500 to 800 pesos. He said he didn't take the money but he suspects many other teachers do at the school.


I find it hard to extrapolate a trend based on one person's opinion or suspicions.

I've asked about this a lot over the years and have never seen a case where a teacher was bribed or offered a bribe. I'm sure it happens, and probably a lot, but it seems to be one of those beliefs that everyone has but no one experiences. Again, I'm sorry, but it's one of those things you keep hearing about that just feeds into stereotypes here that grate on the nerves of people who work in private education.

By all means, I'd love to hear from anyone here who is receiving bribes for good grades...would be a first for me.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that it is hard to extrapolate based on one person's opinions but was interested to find out if people have run into this at their schools.

I also find it interesting that his immediate assumption is that the rest of the teachers are taking the bribes. In the US a teacher wouldn't automatically assume that. And, I have run this scenario by 4 Mexicans since I spoke with him and each one felt he was probably right.

Now, that doesn't mean they are right in assuming everyone is on the take but it is interesting that people here are so quick be believe a story about corruption. From what I've encountered it is a fairly commonly held opinion in MX that the whole society is corrupt from top to bottom so any rumor of corruption is easily believed.

At my uni there are a lot checks to find out if a degree is phony. Most of the safeguards are not effective and some are kind of silly. When I asked the HR person why this obsession, she said that they just assume there is a good chance any degree they are presented with is fake.

Mexicans I know have one horror story or another about how most of the people they have hired to help with repair work on their home or car have ripped them off.

I have no idea if they were ripped off that much but it is interesting how widespread these stories are here.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to finalize this post that only one person wants to comment on...the Mexicans I have communicated with about it feel that buying grades is more the norm than the exception.
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philipjmorgan42



Joined: 08 Feb 2013
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard of this in public sector education. My girlfriend had to pay off one of her university professors to pass a course despite passing the exam. This would be a case of teachers themselves (more than one teacher are at it she tells me) corrupting the system. Apparently, the rectory isn't interested. I'm not sure how much he made her pay, I'll ask her...
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1123
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, both in private universities and in autonomous universities.
In private collegios there is a lot of variety, some yes, some no.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if at the university level the corruption in the system through buying grades and/or paying for grades is tied to the tuition level? The more tuition the more corrupt the system?

I don't have a statistically valid sample but I'm amazed that as I keep asking Mexicans about this they all think it is the norm. Whether that means it is that corrupt or it is just their projecting how corrupt they feel the system is in Mexico I don't know.

They never ask me any question to qualify the situation. At most they'll think for a second and then say something along the lines of "sounds realistic."

Sigh
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

philipjmorgan42 wrote:
I'm not sure how much he made her pay, I'll ask her...


I would really appreciate finding out how much he made her pay. Also, did he make them all pay or did he just select a few for the graft?

In China, according to some expats I met who taught in high schools, many (but of course not all) Chinese born teachers would go back to their offices during class at the high school level when kids were under so much pressure. If the students wanted to do well on the test they had to hire the teacher as a tutor.

According to many Chinese parents I taught and the NY Times, parents would have to give teachers a debit card with around 2500 yuan (approx. 400 usd) on it; that is a huge amount for the average Chinese. When the teacher ran out, they would notify the parents they wanted a refill. Of course, you could also goof off a lot in college and buy your exit exam grades too.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2011
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

boomerexpat wrote:
Just to finalize this post that only one person wants to comment on...the Mexicans I have communicated with about it feel that buying grades is more the norm than the exception.


I worked at a private, upscale, "fresa" colegio some years ago...

A student with failing grades put his hand into my suit coat pocket, he had given me $6,000MXN and stated he would bring the other $4,000 the next day, to complete $10,000 pesos for a perfect grade of 10 for the bi-mester.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2011
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:49 am    Post subject: Re: So, how much for a good grade? Reply with quote

boomerexpat wrote:
This is related to my recent post on grade inflation. I've been talking with Mexicans recently about that topic. Central to their views on the subject is their belief that most parents who send their kids to an expensive private school have their own business which they have built through bribing politicians not great business insight or hard work.

They feel the kids see that and think that is just the way the world works. I was speaking last night with a Mexican who teaches at the secondary level at an expensive private school in Mexico City. He claimed that he is the only tough grader at the school. He said the principal therefore thinks he is the worst teacher at the school because his kids get the lowest grades.

What really stood out to me was that he claimed when he gave a bad grade to a kid the response was usually, "so, how much for a good grade?" If I remember right, when he rejected the proposal the 11 or 12 year old kid will come back with an offer of 500 to 800 pesos. He said he didn't take the money but he suspects many other teachers do at the school.

Have you run into this pay for grade system where you taught? I only have a small window into education here and am going by what I hear.


I was a "tough grader" at the colegios where I worked. But I also faced problems from admin. Stand your ground! Cool
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: So, how much for a good grade? Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo wrote:

I was a "tough grader" at the colegios where I worked. But I also faced problems from admin. Stand your ground! Cool


I notified my boss who is director of the dept that I wouldn't be back because my goals for teaching were in conflict with their goals for the department. In fact the goals they want me to achieve and are judging me by have anything to do with students learning. She understood because she knows I'm right about that conflict.

In terms of grading, I've taken a halfway stand. If I graded them like they were in a good school in the US, they would get such low grades that no one would know how to interpret them here. They really have to mess up to get something less than an A-. The only thing that can cause them to flunk in 99+ percent of courses is missing more than 6 classes.

On the other hand, I don't hand out A's like they were candy either. I'm holding them accountable for handing in things late, incomplete work, and not following directions. they aren't used to being held accountable so it is quite a culture shock for them.

I've always wondered what it would be like to teach elementary school and I found out by teaching at a private uni here. Every class I shake my head at how disorganized and what a bunch of underachievers they still are at this age. I keep thinking of what one EFL teacher told me. She liked her students in Mexico but came to the conclusion the whole society has ADD.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 833

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:


By all means, I'd love to hear from anyone here who is receiving bribes for good grades...would be a first for me.


I have worked in a variety of settings in Mexico - language school, small private school, Catholic private school, university prep program and have never been offered a bribe and have never been asked to change a grade. I do know someone who was offered a bribe and ended up having the student who offered the bribe failed and removed from the program. I have never, personally, met anyone who has been asked to do that, aside from that one incident. I am not saying it doesn't exist, I am sure it exists everywhere - not just in Mexico but like Guy said, I think there is more smoke than fire.
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