Education secretary-designate defends herself against accusations of political activism

By John McPhaul

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia’s nominee to head the island Department of Education, Magaly Rivera Rivera, defended herself in a radio interview Tuesday against accusations of political activism and said “the most important thing is our children and their education.”

“I present my resume, my work, [and] my entire history in the Department of Education,” Rivera Rivera said. “In relation to the politics question, all people in general have the right to have their ideals, to join, not to join. But that cannot influence decision-making, and even more so in a responsibility as great as directing the education of children in Puerto Rico. So I focus on education. And that’s my letter of introduction.”

Rivera Rivera retired from the Department of Education in 2018. She is currently an alternate spokesperson for the Bayamón Municipal Assembly.

“I have, I have the faith, the faith, that every senator … every senator is going to see my letter, my curriculum,” she said. “He or she is going to listen, and he or she is going to see the desire, the knowledge and the experience that I can bring to the Department of Education, the teamwork and the commitment that I have to the students.”

“This opportunity that the governor has given me as a nominee is an honor for me, and I have an unwavering commitment to education,” Rivera Rivera continued, “because I have been in the department [of Education] for more than 30 years. Because I have also had the opportunity to be … two years [outside] of the department, approximately. And I have that perspective from the outside. … I know that each senator is going to objectively evaluate my work, my experience and my commitment.”

“And I commit myself, and I repeat the word because for me it is very important to offer my best, to surround myself with the best team,” she said. “Every decision must be aimed at improving the quality and achievement of the student. For me, right now we have the [issue] of the educational lag. We have to work hard with that and I am going to surround myself with the best, the most capable. Of all the years that I have, the different levels of my experience, from teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, regional director, special assistant, knowing all levels of the department [of Education] … I also studied a curriculum.”

“Even knowing that, I am going to surround myself with the most prepared people, who have mastered more than me. Because the important thing is what we offer to those students. The help that is given to the teacher, the training that is given to the teacher. With that, with that commitment, I go to the Department of Education.”

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