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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Hau backs measure in US House to eliminate barriers to academic success

By The Star Staff

District 29 (Cidra and Cayey) Rep. Gretchen Marie Hau Irizarry, who is participating in the summer conference of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators of the United States (NHCSL), announced over the weekend the approval of a motion in favor of education made by the caucus at its yearly meeting.

As vice president of the Banking and Insurance Committee in the island House of Representatives, Hau is part of the NHCSL’s executive committee.

At the event, Hau joined with the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (2007-2011 and 2019-2023), and seconded a resolution whereby the NHCSL affirmed its commitment to eliminating barriers to academic success by adopting the community school approach that connects students, parents, school staff, and the community with the services required for students to succeed.

“The measure also calls on Congress to enact the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act or similar legislation to provide states and jurisdictions with the funding needed to expand existing community schools and establish new ones in a sustainable manner,” Hau said.

About 10,000 community schools in the United States represent some 6% to 8% of all public schools in the nation, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Community Schools Coalition have requested funding for 25,000 community schools by 2025.

“The AFT has a local affiliation with the Puerto Rico Teachers Association,” Hau said. “Having the presence of former speaker Nancy Pelosi in this process has been very positive in terms of her experience, expertise and contacts in favor of Puerto Rico.”

Pelosi currently represents California’s 11th congressional district. She was the first woman to preside over the U.S. House and led the Democratic caucus from 2003 to 2023.

“Given the reality we live in terms of education in Puerto Rico, for me it is crucial to work together with federal and local authorities to improve educational services on the island,” Hau said. “Specifically, now that we have a new secretary appointed in the Department of Education, I want to contribute to the process and present to her initiatives that have been successful. The Municipality of Cayey’s Future Program is an example of how to create alliances between communities, municipalities and the Education Department.”

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