Sen. Sanders opposes Puerto Rico education reform
SAN JUAN — While the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly debates educational reform to transform the island’s public system, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned the “privatization” proposed by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
The former presidential candidate tweeted that “we cannot allow public schools to be closed, privatized and turned into charter schools that care more about profit than educating Puerto Rico’s students.”
Echoing Sanders were Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Education Week reports.
We cannot allow public schools to be closed, privatized and turned into charter schools that care more about profit than educating Puerto Rico’s students.https://t.co/rNVOxPTgW2
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 2, 2018
At a Washington event in favor of public schools and the role of unions, the lawmakers favored the position of the Puerto Rico Teachers Association, which at a public hearing affirmed its opposition to the charter school system due to the impact it would have on students and teachers.
“The proposal in Puerto Rico to transition to charter schools and the use of private school vouchers is one that mirrors what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina [in 2005],” Sanders said.
He added that “the school privatization proposal” would make public schools lose the funds they need to operate. Also, the educational reform “would completely disrupt and destabilize the existing public school system already struggling to rebuild” in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
At a public hearing earlier this week, independent Puerto Rico Sen. José Vargas Vidot said the Rosselló administration’s proposal would get hundreds of amendments, to which Education and University Reform Committee Chairman Abel Nazario declared that a substitute bill would not be considered.