Saturday, April 28, 2018

Solidarity With Teachers and all Workers in Puerto Rico

From Mercedes Martinez
President: The Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR)

Dear Comrades,

I am writing all of you to let you know about what has been happening in Puerto Rico.  On April 18, 2018 the Oversight Fiscal Board, imposed by the US Congress, submitted different fiscal plans for our country. I attached them below, so you may read them.  In the Commonwealth's plan, page 70 and beyond you can see all of what they approved to be implemented for the Department of Education:

" PRDE has closed over 480 schools (30% of K-12 schools) since 1990. After SY2016-17, PRDE closed 167 schools, 84 and announced plans to close another 283 schools after SY2017-18.85 After an analysis of several factors including capacity, geographic and cultural characteristics, distance to neighboring schools, transportation costs, and facility quality, among others, the Government has determined that it will be able to close a total of 307 schools before FY2020, or an additional 24 schools beyond this summer’s planned closings, and it must do so."

" PRDE must achieve $53 million in net personnel savings and $6 million in non-personnel savings in FY19."

" the number of school administration (principals, office staff, etc.), food service staff, facility maintenance staff, and other school-specific staff shall be scaled down accounting for a smaller number of schools. This should result in $124.8 million in savings by FY2023."

" These teacher focused measures should achieve $194.5 million in run-rate savings by FY2023, inclusive of transition costs under workforce reduction policies (e.g., liquidation of vacation pay"

These are some of the contents included in the fiscal plans I attached, as you can see, it's Disaster Capitalism in Hormones. This will mean thousands of layoffs, hundreds of school closures, added to Law 85 that now allows 10% charter implementation beginning August 2018.

We are facing the biggest attack ever.  We had a National Assembly that determined to strike May 1st, if the government does not revoke these  measures on May 2nd, we will go to the governor's mansion to claim he attends our proposals.  If they insist, during the week of May 7-11 we are planning a boycott against standardized testing. 

Yesterday, we had a civil disobedience action, which ended in police brutality against all the teachers that were protesting who had been pepper sprayed.  It was a protest against school closures and all these measures.  I send you a link so you can see a video below.  Police brutality was implemented against the protesters.  Teachers resisted. Please send a solidarity message video if you can.  Upload it to Youtube or post it on my wall in Facebook.  We expect more repression on May 1st and we will not back down!!

Please let us know what is happening in your state or country and how can we support your struggle.

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