By: Chris Soto, Senior Advisor, Workplace of the Secretary
The Puerto Rico instruction process is at a pivotal instant with lots of influences converging to assistance speed up good improve for the Puerto Rico Division of Education and learning, and eventually the students it serves. The blend of the inflow of federal aid bucks, a strengthened romantic relationship with the U.S. Division of Education, and an island-large recognition of the urgency for structural adjustments that deal with root results in and prioritize scholar results, provides an chance to get a proactive solution toward addressing prolonged-standing troubles.
It was just more than a year back when U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona reaffirmed the U.S. Department of Education’s commitment to guidance the college students of Puerto Rico. Because then, the do the job has progressed like constant engagement with stakeholders across the island guaranteeing everyone’s voice is integrated as Puerto Rico invests almost 5 billion bucks of federal education and learning relief resources to react to the requirements of college students and educators. Thanks to the aid of these federal money, universities reopened with a nurse in most properties, hundreds of school psychologists were being employed, an island-large right after-faculty system was released and most significantly, instructors will see a sizeable spend enhance starting in the following college calendar year.
The Section of Schooling also constituted the Puerto Rico Schooling Sustainability (PRES) Staff, which initially concentrated on 3 key spots: monetary obligation, safe and wholesome faculty buildings, and federal software guidance. Our colleagues at the Federal Crisis Management Agency (FEMA) have been operating carefully with the Puerto Rico Department of Training (PRDE) as they craft a grasp infrastructure system for the repair service and rebuilding of educational facilities. Alvarez & Marsal, the PRDE’s 3rd-Occasion Fiduciary Agent, has been embedded at the PRDE and will before long launch a corrective action plan for fiscal advancements. And nowadays, the Office is releasing a complete technical assistance prepare that responds immediately to the requirements of PRDE employees in the administration of federal packages and funds.
On top of that, we’ve engaged instantly with Puerto Rico’s legislature, hosting an informational session about the historic amount of federal schooling money built obtainable to the island and the Department strengthened the Secretary’s concept of transparency as investments are designed. We’ve also labored with the PRDE, sharing very best follow examples of point out dashboards that keep track of the paying of reduction bucks this sort of as individuals in New Mexico and Louisiana.
Following two pure disasters and a worldwide pandemic, it is vital that have confidence in is rebuilt with students and people throughout the island. The public should be informed of how federal resources are contributing to the instructional restoration of their universities and truly see the positive aspects in lecture rooms throughout the island.
While progress has been manufactured, we know there is a lot more get the job done to do.
All through this yr, it has turn into evident that in get to obtain transformational modify, we need to collectively deal with the longstanding systemic difficulties that keep on to hinder the powerful procedure of Puerto Rico’s education and learning procedure. That’s why the Office of Education and learning, in collaboration with the PRDE and via feedback acquired from stakeholders, will acquire a Memorandum of Comprehending (MOU) identifying specific areas for enhancement that are vital to the system’s accomplishment. Official listening classes will be held all over the island in buy to ensure utmost participation from learners, mothers and fathers, teachers, and stakeholders. This MOU will represent the upcoming stage of our collective get the job done.
As communicated in Puerto Rico’s ARP ESSER Strategy approval letter, ongoing engagement with all stakeholders is crucial to assure that implementation of Puerto Rico’s recovery strategy and the use of federal dollars is clear, powerful, equitable, inclusive, and finest satisfies the needs of Puerto Rico’s college students.
Right now is a different action to progress in buy to fulfill the instant for the pupils of Puerto Rico.
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