Press Release

Joint Statement from AFT President Randi Weingarten And AMPR President Aida Diaz on resignation of Julia Keleher and nomination of Eleuterio Álamo Education Secretary in Puerto Rico

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Kombiz Lavasany

WASHINGTON– “Puerto Rico’s parents, educators and communities have been through a lot in the last two years. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the school system needed to be rebuilt to include strong neighborhood public schools with services for children and state-of-the-art instruction aligned with what students need for life, college and the workforce. Instead, more than one-third of Puerto Rico’s schools were closed, the federal government withheld desperately needed aid, and there’s been a push to privatize public schools.

“During her tenure, Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary Julia Keleher treated educators and parents as a speed bump, implementing policies that created chaos and instability for the island’s 320,000 schoolchildren. We hope the appointment of Eleuterio Álamo will be a reset. The Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico has had a professional and respectful relationship with him while he’s been running the Puerto Rico Education Department’s San Juan regional office.

“We are concerned about Keleher’s transfer to AAFAF (the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority), which oversees the money that departments have and how that money is spent. One of the chief concerns of educators in Puerto Rico is that money allocated for schools after the hurricane has simply not made it into classrooms.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.