Photo: Taylor Flowe/Unsplash

By MARK LORENZANA

After Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced an investigation into Federal Judge Francisco Javier Rebolledo Peña, who stopped the implementation of the new curriculum for basic-education students, civil organizations have requested a dialogue with the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) to participate in the preparation of the educational programs that the SEP is planning to implement.

At his daily morning press conference on Friday, Oct.7, AMLO said that while he was respectful of the judge’s issuance of a provisional suspension to stop the implementation of the SEP program in 960 public schools across Mexico, he will still launch an investigation against Rebolledo Peña.

“We are going to investigate, and we are going to see who the judge was, and what his reason was (for the decision),” López Obrador said. “We respect the judiciary. We have never disobeyed a court order. But the decision left a trace of … a defense of particular interests, and reactionary conservative thought everywhere. Everywhere.”

The National Union of Parents (UNPF) insisted that the SEP must establish a National Council for School Participation in Education as outlined by the General Law of Education of 2019, in addition to agreeing to other civil organizations holding a meeting with Leticia Ramírez, the new head of the SEP.

“The SEP bypassed the National Council, and we ask that they integrate it. They are not complying with article 135 of the General Education Law, which was approved in 2019,” said Luis Arturo Solís Bravo, president of the UNPF, in an interview with Mexican daily newspaper El Universal.

Solís Bravo stressed that they are not stirring up controversy, and that they only want to contribute. He said he is looking forward to a dialogue with Ramírez, along with other groups.

“This new educational model must be analyzed in a council. We insist to the current head of the SEP that she allow us to have a dialogue. They sent us a letter asking us to send an email, to address the SEP,” Solís Bravo said. “Let’s send our proposals. We are preparing them, and we hope that they will consider them. We ask that they allow us to talk to them, and then we do an analysis. We want to ensure the best education for our children.”

Article 135 of the General Law of Education of 2019 indicates that the SEP will promote the establishment and operation of the National Council for School Participation in Education, as a national body for consultation, collaboration, as well as support and information. The council will be composed of parents’ associations and teachers.

Meanwhile, civil organization Educación con Rumbo — one of the groups that filed the amparo or habeas corpus injunction against the SEP’s study plan — insisted that their move was not politically motivated.

“Educación con Rumbo is made up of associations of parents, education experts and teachers who wish to participate in the design of educational policies, as established by the General Education Law issued by this administration, without any political purpose other than the best interests of the country’s boys, girls and young people to their right to a quality education,” the group said in a statement on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The group was responding to López Obrador’s accusation on Friday — without proof — that civil associations were acting on the interests of political groups, specifically the conservative National Action Party (PAN), as the reason for filing complaints against the SEP.

“It is natural that we have all these complaints because it is about changes in the contents of textbooks, and conservatism has always opposed public education,” López Obrador said.

“The contents of those books, the books themselves were contracted with companies that are linked to conservative intellectuals, organic intellectuals who earned a lot of money. It was a time, during the neoliberal period, in which they abandoned history. They put aside civility, ethics. Those with the PAN are surely the ones behind this.”

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