Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

States

Teachers’ Union Leader Nominated to Be Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary

By Andrew Ujifusa — December 02, 2020 1 min read
Elba Aponte Santos

Puerto Rico’s governor-elect has announced that he will pick the head of the island’s teachers’ union to lead the U.S. territory’s department of education.

Governor-elect Pedro Pierluisi said Wednesday that Elba Aponte Santos is his nominee to lead the agency. Aponte is the president of the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (AMPR), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. She has led the AMPR for the past year and is also an AFT vice president. If confirmed by Puerto Rico’s Senate, she will replace Eligio Hernández Pérez, who has led the department since last year and congratulated Aponte Santos on her nomination.

One of her biggest challenges will be to help Puerto Rico’s schools address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have compounded the problems for the school system caused by Hurricane Maria and recent earthquakes, as well as long-term fiscal woes.

Her nomination represents a notable shift in the leadership of the island’s education system from a little more than three years ago, when Maria struck the island. The education secretary at the time, Julia Keleher, closed hundreds of public schools in response to declining enrollment and supported changes to the island’s laws in 2018 that for the first time permitted charter schools and private school vouchers in Puerto Rico. The union opposed these efforts.

Keleher resigned in the spring of 2019, and a few months later was arrested on fraud charges; she was arrested again early this year on charges, also on fraud charges. She pleaded not guilty to these charges. (On Tuesday, a federal judge denied a motion by Keleher to dismiss all charges in the indictment related to her second arrest.) Meanwhile, one of Keleher’s biggest critics during her tenure, AMPR’s then-president Aida Díaz, resigned from her post last year after reports about her husband’s education contracts and possible conflicts of education.

The AFT’s website says Aponte Santos is a special education teacher and describes her as “a fierce defender of public education on the island.”

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

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 Interactive Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack
This national map tracks where state legislatures are attempting to limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom.
2 min read
States Florida State Board of Education Bans the Use of Critical Race Theory in Schools
Lessons that deal with critical race theory and the “1619 Project” are not welcome in Florida’s public schools following a state board vote.
Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
4 min read
Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education and Board Chair Andy Tuck listen as Dianna Greene, the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, addresses the board members during Thursday morning's meeting. The board members of the Florida Department of Education met Thursday, June 10, 2021 at the Florida State College at Jacksonville's Advanced Technology Center in Jacksonville, Fla. to take care of routine business but then held public comments before a vote to remove critical race theory from Florida classrooms.
Richard Corcoran, the commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, and Board Chair Andy Tuck listen as Dianna Greene, the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, addresses board members before a June 10 vote to remove critical race theory from Florida classrooms.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP
States Let School Officials Seek Gun Limits for Potentially Violent Students, Feds Suggest
A model state "red flag" bill would let school officials ask courts to halt students' access to guns if they are deemed a risk.
4 min read
Students protest after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Students protest after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
High school students rally at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 21 in support of those affected at the Parkland High School shooting in Florida. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
States From Our Research Center A User’s Guide to the Grading and Methodology
Here's a quick and easy guide to the grading scale and each of the indicators that go into making up the 50-state grades for school finance.
EdWeek Research Center
4 min read
Illustration of C letter grade
Getty