More than 30 congressional Democrats are calling on Puerto Rico’s governor to put the brakes on plans to close some 280 public schools on the island.
In a letter last week to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, the lawmakers say that closing those schools in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria would hurt 66,000 students and teachers and have a “disastrous impact” on student learning. They also decry concurrent plans to open charter schools on the island and introduce vouchers.
The governor and Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher have said the school closures will help the island get on its feet financially, and that many of the schools have significantly fewer students attending than their actual capacity in the wake of last year’s severe storms.
The U.S. territory closed 179 schools last summer because of declining enrollment and crippling financial woes.
The Democrats say Puerto Rico should first call a halt to its school closure plan, and then conduct a “needs assessment” to properly determine priorities for the island’s students.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2018 edition of Education Week as Democrats Slam Plan to Shut Down Hundreds of Schools in Puerto Rico