States Interactive

See the Effects of Puerto Rico’s Plan to Close Schools

June 19, 2018 | Updated: July 07, 2021 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Updated: A previous version of this page included an interactive map, which has since been removed.

Hurricane Maria severely disrupted Puerto Rico’s public schools when it hit Sept. 20, 2017. Now, the island’s education system is poised to undergo a controversial transition.

In response to the storm as well as falling enrollment and the government’s long-term financial woes, the Puerto Rico Department of Education plans to close nearly 25 percent of its public schools before the 2018-19 school year begins. Under the plan, 263 schools will close and 847 schools will remain open.

Government leaders say consolidating schools is a necessary step to reorganize and improve the U.S. territory’s schools, but critics—including the leaders of the island’s teachers’ union—say the closures will drive away families and teachers, as well as upend communities. Younger students could be hit particularly hard: Among the schools scheduled for closure, at least 85 percent include a K-5 grade. These closures are subject to a legal battle currently taking place in the island’s courts.

Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher said many schools educate far fewer students than they have room for—nearly 500 schools had a utilization rate of less than 60 percent, she pointed out. Consolidating schools will help Puerto Rico “guarantee access to books and teachers and resources in a positive, inviting learning environment,” Keleher said. Enrollment on the island has been dropping for some time; last summer, the island shut down roughly 180 public schools.

Click here to read more of our coverage of Puerto Rico’s schools after Hurricane Maria, from the physical impact to students’ mental and emotional health.

Sources: Puerto Rico Department of Education. (Google Distance API Matrix was used to calculate driving distances.)
Reporter: Andrew Ujifusa
Analysis and Visualization: Maya Riser-Kositsky, Francisco Vara-Orta, Vanessa Solis, Gina Tomko

This story was previously published with the headline, “See the Schools Puerto Rico Plans to Close and Where Displaced Students Will Go”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Alabama's New Transgender Care Felony Faces Federal Test
An Alabama law is the first to put criminal penalties on the doctors who provide gender-affirming treatments to transgender minors.
3 min read
Conceptual picture of transgender flag overlaying shadows and silhouettes of anonymous people on a road.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
States Texas Governor Sparks Backlash With Talk of Rolling Back Free School for Immigrant Kids
Critics assailed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's idea as “hare-brained” and “cruel.”
Robert T. Garrett, The Dallas Morning News
5 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States How Laws on Race, Sexuality Could Clash With Culturally Responsive Teaching
Critical race theory and culturally responsive teaching are not the same thing. But bans of one could impact the other.
7 min read
Illustration of diverse hands being raised.
iStock/Getty
States Beyond 'Don't Say Gay': Other States Seek to Limit LGBTQ Youth, Teaching
Legislators want to ban lessons on LGBTQ communities and require teachers to tell parents when students want their pronouns changed.
9 min read
Kara Klever holds a sign in protest in the hall outside of the Blue Room as Governor Kevin Stitt signs a bill into law that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams at the Capitol Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oka. The bill, which easily passed the Republican-led House and Senate mostly along party lines, took effect immediately with the governor's signature. It applies to female sports teams in both high school and college.
Kara Klever holds a sign in protest as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs a bill into law that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams.
Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman via AP