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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Decentralization of island public schools to begin in August, US education czar says

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, left, met with members of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association and Puerto Rico Mayors Federation on Tuesday. (PR Mayors Association/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said earlier this week that the process of decentralizing public schools in Puerto Rico will begin as a pilot plan in August.

The federal education chief insisted that the process will commence this summer despite the fact that the administration of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia administration ends on Jan. 2, 2025 and the Biden administration is engaged in a campaign for reelection.

“For me the decentralization process is more important than any person who is in a position, including me. The process is for students in Puerto Rico and parents who have wanted a change for a long time, need a change. I know everybody talks about it and says ‘yes, I want to see it,’ but we need to see action,” Cardona said in response to questions from the press. “I am here to listen to what is working, what is not being worked on and to apply momentum so that they continue with the decentralization process. What I want to see are local decisions. I want to see that when a school needs something, that they can order it without waiting a long time. I want to see that teachers don’t have to pay out of pocket to have things for the student. I want to see that if there’s a local concern they can talk to the superintendents that they took on. That is why the process to decentralize the school system is very important, and I am here to listen, but also to continue pushing because I want to see it and I know that people here in Puerto Rico also want to see it.”

The federal official noted that six months is enough time to begin the pilot plan of decentralization, but reiterated the urgency of creating the regulation.

“In six months I hope that the provisional LEA [local education agency] will be there,” Cardona said. “We need the regulations, but we also need a system where there are local leaders who can make the decisions.”

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