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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Teachers union slams Education Dept. for lack of plan

Puerto Rico Teachers Association President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR) on Thursday criticized what it said is the lack of a strategic plan in the Department of Education and demanded real educational transformation at the beginning of the new school year.

“The whole country is tired of the lack of an articulated and strategic plan and we see that at the start of every school year,” AMPR President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez said at a press conference. “As long as that is the order of the day, we will continue to have the same results.”

According to the AMPR report, after visiting 588 schools, infrastructure problems persist and 46.4% of those schools do not have a full school faculty. It cites as an example the Berwind Intermediate school in Río Piedras, where the press conference was held.

AMPR Vice President Raúl González stressed the need for a transformation that includes more than a decentralization of resources and where teachers and school communities are the protagonists. Erika García and Kelly Ayala Escobar, both teachers, joined the complaint, emphasizing the desire to see significant changes at the beginning of each school year.

“Teachers in Puerto Rico are tired of seeing the same devastating scenario as we always do as we start a new school year,” García said. “What did the Department of Education do during these months?”

Ayala Escobar stressed the importance of offering not only functional schools, but also quality and excellence for students, while Ángel Javier Pérez Hernández, general secretary of the union, highlighted the need for attention to human resources and the urgency of establishing an adequate salary scale.

The AMPR officials stressed that their struggle this school year will focus on promoting a comprehensive transformation of the Education Department. In addition, they noted their participation in the executive committee of the IDEAR Project, which seeks to achieve administrative changes in the department.

“We do not totally agree on everything that is being raised in the … executive committee, but we are there to defend free public schooling,” González said.

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