Plundering of Puerto Rico continues as governor attacks public education
10 February 2018
The pillaging and plundering of Puerto Rico reached new heights this week as Governor Ricardo Rosselló addressed the US territory Monday to formally announce his intention to dismantle and privatize the public education system on the island.
Rosselló’s live televised announcement outlined a full-scale assault on teachers, students and the right to free quality public education. Included in his “broad education reform bill” is the introduction of charter schools, a voucher system, decentralizing the administrative system, massive school closures, and teacher layoffs.
Rosselló’s announcement is only the most recent inflection point in a decades-long battle over public education on the island which has been greatly accelerated since Hurricane María. Despite significant resistance from the working class, youth and students, preparations for Rosselló’s coming “education transformation” have steadily advanced over the last decade.
Privatizing Puerto Rico’s public education system has been a long sought after goal of the local ruling class, going back as far as Rosselló’s father in the 1990s. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court struck down a similar voucher program proposed by his father in 1994, saying the island’s constitution prohibited using public money to fund privately run schools. How the new plan somehow circumvents this law has not been made clear. Given the steady decades-long decay of democratic forms of rule on the local and federal levels, and the institution of the Obama-era Financial Oversight Board, it can be assumed that the ruling class will have no trouble removing all legal barriers that may prevent the plans from moving…