A series of new, government-written textbooks for the 2023-2024 school year have sparked a heated debate in Mexico, with critics accusing the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of trying to indoctrinate children with communist ideology.
The textbooks, which will be distributed for free to all students from first to ninth grade, introduce a new teaching method that combines different subjects into stories or projects, intended to give a more hands-on “experiential” learning process. However, some of the content has raised eyebrows among parents, teachers, and opposition parties, who claim that the books promote a biased and distorted view of history, politics, and society.
Some of the controversial topics include the role of the military in the 1968 student massacre, the achievements of López Obrador’s government, the environmental impact of capitalism, and the rights of indigenous and LGBT+ communities. Some errors and inaccuracies have also been detected in the books, such as mislabeling states on a map, showing wrong dates of birth for national heroes, and suggesting that Mars is closer to the Sun than Earth.
López Obrador has defended the new textbooks, saying that they are based on scientific and pedagogical criteria and that there is nothing to fear from them. He has also instructed officials to hold a series of news conferences to answer questions about the texts.
But recent investigations by Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola and his team in the news outlet Latinus have revealed that the group of persons that redesigned the public education textbooks are far from being specialists in education.
The debate reveals how polarized Mexican society is between die-hard supporters and detractors of López Obrador.