In his article for the conservative City Journal, Sol Stern asserts that Pedagogy of the Oppressed ignores the traditional touchstones of Western education (e.g., Rousseau, John Dewey, or Maria Montessori) and contains virtually none of the information typically found in traditional teacher education (e.g., no discussion of curriculum, testing, or age-appropriate learning). To the contrary, Freire rejects traditional education as "official knowledge" that intends to oppress.
Stern also suggests that heirs to Freire's ideas have taken them to mean that since all education is political, "leftist math teachers who care about the oppressed have a right, indeed a duty, to use a pedagogy that, in Freire's words, 'does not conceal—in fact, which proclaims—its own political character.'"
A 2019 article in Spiked (magazine), a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society claims that, "In 2016, the Open Syllabus Project catalogued the 100 most requested titles on its service by English-speaking universities: the only Brazilian on its list was Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. When Elliott Green, associate professor at the London School of Economics, analysed the most cited works available on Google Scholar, he found the work was the third most cited in the social sciences and was even ahead of works by Michel Foucault or Karl Marx. However, despite his international success, Freire is a great enemy of the Brazilian right. Today, his name is regularly invoked in the culture wars that have engulfed Brazil. And now that President Jair Bolsonaro, his Social Liberal Party and his family are running the country, the crusade against Freire’s work and influence has intensified." and, "Paulo Freire is despised by the Bolsonaro clan for teaching the masses to question authority."