Accusations of ‘communism’ and ‘fascism’ in Mexico’s public school textbooks (OPINION)

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(By MARK STEVENSON and LEON RAMÍREZ, for Associated Press).- There are few places where the debate over school textbooks has gone so ballistic in such a short time as in Mexico, where opponents are hurling cries of “communist” and “fascist’ at each other.

The series of about three dozen government-written, free textbooks will be required reading for first through ninth grades in every school nationwide, starting on Aug. 28.

News anchor Javier Alatorre claimed the new schoolbooks written by the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are trying to inject “the virus of communism” into kids.

Government supporters, meanwhile, have compared the opposition to Hitler, after opposition party leader Marko Cortes suggested some of the texts should be destroyed. Temperatures have run so high that López Obrador has instructed officials to hold a series of news conferences to answer questions about the new texts.

The debate reveals how starkly divided Mexico is between die-hard supporters of López Obrador and those who hate him (who are counted by the millions).

“What is really being revealed in this conflict, this debate, is how polarized Mexican society is,” said National University sociologist Ishtar Cardona Cardona, who has reviewed most of the textbooks available so far.

And the ideological debate has obscured the bigger fact that the new texts introduce a whole new teaching method, something never before done in Mexico, where in the past, each administration updated the texts but kept the subjects largely the same.

No longer will there be separate lessons — or textbooks — on subjects like math, reading, or social studies? It’s all mixed together, into multi-subject stories or projects, intended to give a more hands-on “experiential” learning process.

There are some embarrassing errors; one grade-school textbook suggested ¾ is greater than ⅚ and shows an incorrect date of birth of the national hero Benito Juárez. Yet another diagram suggests Mars is closer to the Sun than the Earth is.

And there is a strong anti-capitalist tint to some of the lessons…

Click here to read the complete original article By MARK STEVENSON and LEON RAMÍREZ, for Associated Press

Source: Associated Press

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