Lawmakers Press Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló on School Closures
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) led a letter signed by 31 other Members of Congress last week to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló expressing their opposition to current plans to close 280 public schools across the island. This comes less than one year after the closure of 167 schools, bringing the total number of schools to nearly 450. The island's schools had been struggling long before the hurricane hit. This latest wave of school closures will affect over 66,000 students. “Puerto Rico’s public schools have been the institutions that offer children stability in the aftermath of a disaster and continue to function as centers of community,” the lawmakers wrote. “We call on your Administration to institute a moratorium on all school closing until a full, fair, and transparent needs assessment is conducted and determines how to best provide Puerto Rico’s students with an equal opportunity to education. The long term health and recovery of Puerto Rico depends on it.” The island's government wants to consolidate schools, some because of declining enrollment and some due to lower test scores or buildings in bad shape. Teachers' unions are also fighting both the closures and a plan from the Governor that would allow charter school and private school voucher programs starting in 2019. See Grijalva’s full letter here.