A great controversy has arisen in Mexico due to criticism of the content of the free textbooks for the 2023-2024 school year, distributed by the Federal Government’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP). Sectors of society, academics, and opposition political parties have criticized the books, considering that they intend to indoctrinate children in a favorable way to the regime of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with “communist” content.
Parents’ associations pointed out the lack of mathematics teaching. Some people is scandalized by the sexual education content in books for girls and boys in advanced grades of primary school.
In various states of the country, governors and educational authorities have spoken out against the books of the SEP.
The governor of Chihuahua, Maru Campos, ordered to stop the distribution of new textbooks in Chihuahua.
The government of the state of Guanajuato stored the new SEP textbooks, in compliance with the definitive suspension granted to the National Union of Family Parents by a federal judge. Also in Jalisco, there are more than a million textbooks in storage, due to an injunction that prevents their distribution.
Marko Cortés, leader of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), denounced that Mexico is experiencing one of the “greatest tragedies in its history” in education caused by a government “that does not want educated people, but indoctrinated and manipulate and hates science.”
The controversy began after an injunction obtained by the National Union of Family Parents last May, in which the Third District judge ordered the SEP to review the content of the textbooks and submit their redesign to prior consultations. The organization questioned whether the new books contain education on sexual diversity, diverse families, and teachings on human reproduction at the primary level.
Despite the court order to stop the delivery of the material, President López Obrador asserted on Tuesday August 1 that “there is no impediment” for the books to be distributed for the return to school on August 28.
“What these new contents seek is for education to have a social, humanistic, and scientific dimension, which had been lost because, during the neoliberal period, they did not want our history to be known,” (sic) said the president.
Although the president has dismissed the criticism as a reaction from conservatives, the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), a radical dissident cell of the teachers’ union, has also rejected the new books for failing to consult teachers.
In the midst of the controversy has also been Marx Arriaga Navarro, director of Educational Materials of the SEP. The official stressed that the issue of new teaching materials is a trend not only on social networks, but also in the media.
According to the official website of the SEP, Arriaga Navarro has a PhD in Hispanic Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid; he also has a master’s degree in Literary Theory and a degree in Hispanic Letters from the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM).
Arriaga Navarro has not been exempt from controversy, especially when a video with statements against feminism went viral, as he blamed this movement for “not reading” enough to generate a real change in society, for which he was accused of mansplaining. In addition, the media accused him of extending the invitation to work in the federal government to Sandy Arturo Loaiza Escalona, who was allegedly a former official of the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.
San Miguel Times