MEXICO CITY (AP):
As Mexican children trooped back to school yesterday, they had already learned one lesson: You can't believe everything you read in your textbook.
Their new government-provided books are riddled with the sort of errors that students are supposed to be learning not to make: misspellings, errors of grammar and punctuation, and at least one city located in the wrong state.
The foul-up is an embarrassment for a government that is trying to overhaul Mexico's much-criticised school system. Officials promised to give teachers a list of the errors so they can try to manually correct at least 117 mistakes. The Education Department acknowledged it found them only after 235 million elementary textbooks were being printed.
"It's not fair. Children are impressionable. The moment they see the error, it stays with them," complained Edith Salinas, a graphic designer who had just dropped her sixth-grade girl off at school.
Education Secretary Emilio Chuayffet has called the errors "unforgivable," but he blames Mexico's previous administration for the stumble. He says he was faced with the predicament of choosing between stopping the printing of flawed textbooks so they could be corrected and making sure the country's 26 million schoolchildren had textbooks at the start of classes.