Teachers Assn. calls for school schedule changes due to heat
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials) Vice President Raúl González and AMPR Local Union General Secretary Ángel Javier Pérez demanded on Thursday that designated Education Secretary Yanira Raíces Vega accept the AMPR’s proposal to implement a schedule that allows students to leave school early in the day and minimize the impact of the heat.
“To address the problem in the short term, you have to address the need that these students have with the schedule,” González said at a press conference. “The schedule is already a measure that has been used in several states of the United States, [where] what is being given is 40 minutes of class. We are proposing a reduced schedule of 45 minutes [per class]. We even proposed a much earlier schedule, possibly starting at 6 in the morning, so that students could complete their full academic load and then go home. But we recommend 7:30 in the morning to 12:30 p.m., because we have done it many times before -- we have done it in the schools of Puerto Rico and it has worked.”
Pérez added: “We do not ask the secretary to suspend classes or eliminate classes the full academic day, starting earlier.”
“[Our proposal is for a] full academic day, starting earlier,” he said.
According to the two educators, with their proposed schedule, contractors could use the afternoons to conduct the repair work that continues at some schools and that sometimes disrupts classes.
González and Pérez alleged that Raíces Vega opposed the proposal because it affected teaching time. They argued that the schedule proposed by the AMPR meets the minimum 5 hours of teaching time.
They also said that Raíces Vega claimed that the reduced schedule could not be used in all schools, because some have air conditioning. When asked for a list of those schools, the Education secretary supposedly did not have it, the AMPR officials said.
They delivered their remarks at a press conference next to Santiago Iglesias Pantín School in the San José neighborhood of San Juan. The school has air conditioning units installed in several rooms, but they cannot be used because when they are turned on, the circuit breakers activate.