Teachers Assn.: Education secretary’s confirmation is a chance to move forward
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Teachers Association President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez reacted with cautious optimism on Monday night after the island Senate confirmed Yanira Raíces Vega as secretary of Education.
“As exclusive representatives of teachers, even though in the past and in her current position we have had conflicting positions with Raíces Vega, we recognize that we have to work together to advance the best interests of our teachers and achieve the changes that the country expects for its public education system,” Bonilla Sánchez said in a written statement. “We trust that the secretary can maintain a relationship of dialogue and respect for the rights of teachers and fulfill her role of strengthening our schools and our public education for the benefit of our teachers and present and future generations.”
Late Monday afternoon the Senate confirmed Raíces Vega as secretary of Education and Ciení Rodríguez Troche as Family secretary.
The confirmation of Raíces Vega came despite a Senate committee report that raised doubts about her competencies and leadership.
“The appointment of Yanira Raíces Vega as secretary of Education represents a crucial step in addressing the challenges in our education system,” said Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago, who chairs the Appointments Committee in the upper chamber.
Raíces Vega faces significant challenges at the Department of Education, such as school dropouts, absenteeism, and managing the consequences of a heat wave that recently hobbled the public education system.
The new Family secretary, meanwhile, stressed the need to build a solid foundation for the agency with the aim of achieving a healthy and just society.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Puerto Rico from such an important position,” Rodríguez Troche said in a written statement. “I am deeply grateful to God for accompanying me on this journey, to the Senate today for its support and for the trust given to me in my work as Secretary of the Family, and to the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, for trusting me and nominating me for the position at such an important historical juncture.”