3.09.2007

PR Education Department: An Oxymoron?

The continuing debacle in the Education of Puerto Rico...
Letter to the Editor/The San Juan Star by Edna Negrón (3.8.07)

My name is Edna Negrón from Ponce. I returned to my beloved Island just two years ago, but in that short period of time I have experienced first-hand the bureaucratic nightmare, gross neglect and abysmal conditions of the education system. The Puerto Rico Education Department is truly an oxymoron.

Some years back, I retired as public school educator in Hartford, Connecticut having served as teacher, principal, central office administrator and member of the board of education. As a poor, urban center, Hartford faces many problems in its public education system. It has a student body that is overwhelmingly Latino mostly Puerto Rican. Hartford received the poorest of the poor from Puerto Rico, the legacy of an agricultural migration to work in the tobacco farms of the Connecticut Valley dating back to the 1950s.

I fully understand the challenges of educating students who need to be proficient in two languages yet have limited skills in the language they speak. This is not rocket science. There is a huge body of excellent information on educational approaches that are effectives in developing two languages. There are proven curricula, books, materials, expert resources, model programs, etc. It can be done and it HAS been done successfully even under very trying circumstances.

There are proven curricula, books, materials, expert resources, model programs, etc. It can be done and it HAS been done successfully even under very trying circumstances. This is especially true for Spanish speakers who are learning English, which defines the student body in the public schools of Puerto Rico with very few exceptions. It is easier here where the issue of cultural diversity is fairly moot. For example, I worked with 42 language groups in Hartford during my tenure there. I expected things to be much easier in Puerto Rico.

In interacting with public schools and public school officials at all levels, what immediately assaults the senses is the "which color (political party affiliation) are you? Party affiliation has been the determining factor in everything related to education, from assigning principals to choosing which books are purshased. The school system is fraught with incompetent people holding key positions based only in their party affiliation and "godfathers". Incredibly when the color guard changes, those incompetent minions are moved around and never go away completely! ... (this letter will continue)

Credit to "pacheco76951" of The Boricua Diaspora Group.