In a television interview last week about education reform, the interviewer told Gordillo that she was the most hated woman in Mexico.

"There is no one more loved by their people than I," Gordillo answered. "I care about the teachers. This is a deep and serious dispute about public education."

Union leaders voiced support for her during a meeting in Guadalajara but issued no formal statement and there were no public demonstrations by teachers.

"To our leader, teacher Elba Esther Gordillo, we affirm our loyalty, our love and our solidarity," Juan Diaz de la Torre, the union's general secretary, said during the meeting.

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Associated Press writers Olga R. Rodriguez, Adriana Gomez Licon and Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report.

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