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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor releases report outlining plan to decentralize public education

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and the executive committee of the Initiative for Educational Decentralization and Regional Autonomy (IDEAR by its Spanish acronym) on Wednesday issued a report stating the principles for the decentralization of the Puerto Rico Education Department (DEPR by its Spanish initials).

The 117-page report said the transformation of the educational system is based on the vision that all efforts, state resources and the community are at the service of a better quality of education for the benefit of students.

The concept of decentralization is established as the distribution of the decision-making process on core education issues, from the central level toward the island’s public schools. The proposed model seeks to empower schools, giving them more significant influence over the operational and administrative decisions that impact the educational community and promote collaborative work.

The plan proposes the creation of a regional level that will operate as a Local Educational Agency (LEA) and will support the educational project designed and developed by the school.

The State Educational Agency (SEA) will be the custodian of the right to education, ensuring the access of all students to a quality education and excellence.

The report calls for greater participation on the part of students, teachers, the community and the state in the public educational system.

In 2022, fewer than half of the students demonstrated mastery of Spanish and only 21% of mathematics. In 2017, only 12% of students demonstrated mastery of each subject.

Law 85-2018, better known as the Puerto Rico Education Reform Law (Law 85-2018), established the basis for decentralizing the DEPR, forming a regional structure, albeit with limited autonomy.

The current tasks of the central level of the DEPR will be reorganized, delegating executive functions to the LEAs: The LEA level will have the capacity to accompany schools in the full development of their academic and social project, and should emphasize the development of shared governance structures, according to the report.

The report also calls on officials to develop a system of governance that allows the community to participate in decision-making that affects education. The community will actively participate in defining the plans and in making the most important decisions in the system through the school councils and advisory councils for each LEA.

The plan also calls for the reinforcement of the administrative staff at schools to allow teachers to devote more time to teaching.

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1 Comment

Aug 25, 2023

Decentralizing Public Education is a bad idea by Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia. In fact, I would even call it Criminal. Sure, flexibility and regional autonomy sounds wonderful on the surface, but let's look a little deeper shall we?

Decentralized Public Education makes it difficult to establish educational standards across the Island of Puerto Rico. Decentralized Pubic Education makes it difficult to track Money. What normally happens in Decentralized Public Schools is wealthy communities like Dorado get all the resources they need, while Decentralized Public Schools in poorer school districts like Las Piedras barely get anything.

By keeping Public Education Centralized, you force Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia to be accountable for insuring that all the children of Puerto Rico receive the resources they…

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