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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Education Dept., Teachers Assn. spar over educator absences

“Our teachers are the best, that’s why they come from the United States to hire them,” the president of the Puerto Rico Teachers Association said in part in response to a social media post from the Education Department referring to teacher absences on Monday.

By The Star Staff

The Department of Education (DE) confirmed on Monday that teacher absence rates reached 19% for the day.

The DE reported on its Twitter account that in 773 schools, 81 percent attendance was reported by teachers, 91 percent by principals, and 84 percent by teaching staff.

“Data is still being received from 34 schools in the interlocking modality,” the DE said on Twitter. “This represents 95 percent of the schools. Let’s prioritize the education of our students.”

Puerto Rico Teachers Association President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez said in reaction to the post: “We have been informed about a series of teachers who have not appeared at work today. All of our field staff are visiting the schools to see what the real situation is. However, it is common knowledge that teachers feel outrage and helplessness due to the constant abuse they have been subjected to by governments.”

“In addition, [there is] the disastrous situation related to teachers’ retirement, and the many years in which they have not been given a better salary,” Bonilla Sánchez said in a written statement.

“Our teachers are the best, that’s why they come from the United States to hire them,” he added. “We don’t want them to leave, we have to keep them. The Teachers Association continues its fight in favor of the teaching profession at the negotiating table and with different strategies in the Legislature, the government and the [Financial Oversight and Management] Board, so that we achieve the salary justice that our educators deserve.”

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