By: Chris Soto, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
The Puerto Rico education and learning system is at a pivotal instant with lots of influences converging to help speed up beneficial transform for the Puerto Rico Office of Education, and in the end the pupils it serves. The mix of the influx of federal reduction dollars, a strengthened relationship with the U.S. Section of Education and learning, and an island-large recognition of the urgency for structural variations that address root leads to and prioritize college student outcomes, provides an chance to acquire a proactive approach to addressing extended-standing issues.
It was just more than a calendar year back when U.S. Secretary of Education and learning Miguel Cardona reaffirmed the U.S. Division of Education’s motivation to guidance the students of Puerto Rico. Considering that then, the function has progressed which include consistent engagement with stakeholders across the island making sure everyone’s voice is integrated as Puerto Rico invests virtually five billion dollars of federal education relief funds to react to the desires of students and educators. Thanks to the assist of these federal money, educational facilities reopened with a nurse in most structures, hundreds of college psychologists ended up hired, an island-extensive after-college system was introduced and most considerably, lecturers will see a significant fork out improve beginning in the subsequent university 12 months.
The Office of Education and learning also constituted the Puerto Rico Schooling Sustainability (PRES) Group, which to begin with centered on a few crucial locations: monetary duty, risk-free and nutritious college buildings, and federal system assistance. Our colleagues at the Federal Crisis Management Agency (FEMA) have been doing work closely with the Puerto Rico Section of Schooling (PRDE) as they craft a learn infrastructure approach for the fix and rebuilding of educational facilities. Alvarez & Marsal, the PRDE’s 3rd-Social gathering Fiduciary Agent, has been embedded at the PRDE and will quickly release a corrective motion strategy for fiscal advancements. And right now, the Office is releasing a in depth complex help approach that responds specifically to the requires of PRDE team in the administration of federal programs and resources.
In addition, we have engaged instantly with Puerto Rico’s legislature, internet hosting an informational session about the historic total of federal education funds created available to the island and the Department strengthened the Secretary’s concept of transparency as investments are designed. We have also labored with the PRDE, sharing very best apply illustrations of point out dashboards that keep track of the investing of aid dollars this kind of as those people in New Mexico and Louisiana.
Subsequent two normal disasters and a worldwide pandemic, it is essential that believe in is rebuilt with college students and households throughout the island. The public really should be conscious of how federal money are contributing to the academic recovery of their colleges and in fact see the positive aspects in lecture rooms across the island.
When progress has been built, we know there is additional get the job done to do.
For the duration of this 12 months, it has turn out to be apparent that in purchase to attain transformational alter, we have to collectively handle the longstanding systemic difficulties that keep on to hinder the helpful operation of Puerto Rico’s education process. That’s why the Department of Education, in collaboration with the PRDE and by means of suggestions acquired from stakeholders, will build a Memorandum of Being familiar with (MOU) determining particular regions for improvement that are important to the system’s good results. Formal listening sessions will be held during the island in purchase to be certain utmost participation from learners, mom and dad, lecturers, and stakeholders. This MOU will symbolize the up coming period of our collective perform.
As communicated in Puerto Rico’s ARP ESSER Program acceptance letter, ongoing engagement with all stakeholders is critical to guarantee that implementation of Puerto Rico’s restoration prepare and the use of federal bucks is transparent, successful, equitable, inclusive, and greatest fulfills the needs of Puerto Rico’s pupils.
These days is yet another stage in direction of development in purchase to satisfy the moment for the learners of Puerto Rico.