María del Carmen Gutiérrez Rodríguez
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico President Aida Diaz and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following joint statement responding to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s revised fiscal plan, issued overnight. The plan calls for the closure of 300 schools on the island.
“Puerto Rico’s public schools and educators have played a vital role in relief efforts in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. For Puerto Rico to both recover and revitalize, educators will be called on to play an even greater role. Instead of the wholesale closing of public schools proposed by this fiscal plan—or privatizing them—schools need to be transformed into centers of their communities to provide stability and support to help students overcome trauma and continue to learn. In addition, public schools are essential to teach kids the skills and knowledge they need to prepare them for life, college and career.
“High-quality public education is a crucial driver of economic growth and societal equity. There are some positive aspects to the governor’s plan—the decision to halt debt payments for one. But to thrive, Puerto Rico needs to keep schools open, not close them, and that’s why the push for mass school closings falls wide of the mark.”
In making this statement, the AFT, which serves on the Creditors' Committee as the authorized agent of the AMPR/Local Sindical in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and certain of its instrumentalities, is not representing or speaking on behalf of the Creditors' Committee.