Monday, May 28, 2018

Public Education: Puerto Rico Update

Mercedes Martinez
Dear Comrades,

I write to put you up to date on what has been happening in Puerto Rico.

As you may know, the Oversight Fiscal Board, appointed by the US Congress approved its fiscal plan last April 18, 2018.  I sent it to most of you a couple of weeks ago.  The plan includes:

-305 school closings in this academic year that is about to end 2017-18.  The number has lowered to 265 due to the communities struggle, but the number of schools set to close is extremely high still

In order to fight this back we have gone to public hearings in the Senate, House of Representatives, governor's mansion, protested, rallied, performed civil disobedience, strike on March 19, May 1st, perform community assemblies per school, district and region with all of the community members, elaborated individual and collective plans to fight back.  We have presented proposals including a true educational reform, to those in power.

We have been promoting the boycott of the standardized testing.  This year 25 schools participated and the students opted out.  The communities that opted out were mainly schools set to close:

Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary School, Canovanas- 100% opted out.  This community was on a 5 day strike against the test.

Maria I Dones Elementary School, Fajardo- 39% opted out

Ruiz Belvis Elementary School, San Juan - 80% opted out

Madame Luchetti, San Juan- 75% opted out

Parcelas Aguas Claras, Ceiba- 39% opted out

Lorencita Ramirez, Toa Baja- 35% opted out

Gilberto Concepcion High School, Carolina- 45% opted out

These are some of the schools that participated.  We have to keep working to raise the number, but are doing the work.

This week is crucial for us.  The semester ends and we need to revoke as many school closings as we can and all of your solidarity is more than welcomed.  We would like it if you were able to send a video message of solidarity with the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico and the communities who are fighting back against school closures, budget cuts, charter imposition and vouchers.  Direct your message to our governor Ricardo Rosello, our legislature and our Secretary of Education, Julia Keleher.  Upload the video if you can to youtube and send me the link here in an email.  That way I can share it widely.  You can also write letters to our House of Representaive members, Senate members, governor and Secretary of Education.  You can email them to me and I will make sure they receive them.  Solidarity is a must.

We have plans against charters, they will try to sign contracts with them  by July 2018 this year.  If any of you want to do a video on how charters have affected our community, directed to our parents, teachers and children, Id appreciate it.

We also have a papyal account, as this fight  in defense of public education will not stop until we win it.  If you want to donate to our public education defense fund, here is the link:

Let us know what has been happening in your community and how can we support your fight.

In solidarity,

Mercedes Martinez
President of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico

Here are some views from Fact For Working People on the situation in Puerto Rico and how the present struggles  there and throughout public education can be taken forward and strengthened.

For more reading on education and recent teachers struggles check out the following tabs on the right: Teachers, Public Education 

No comments: