The Puerto Rico Department of Education’s (DE) “vision of the future” proposes the closing of another 83 schools by 2026, affecting 18,644 students, according to a new infrastructure master plan to which the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) had access, although in May 2021 Interim Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés pledged that the agency would not close more campuses. Most of these closings, which the Department calls “consolidations” in the document and which are displayed on an interactive map created by the DE, are in the educational regions of Humacao, Ponce and San Juan. Humacao and Ponce, preceded by Mayagüez and San Juan, were the regions that saw the most closings in the past four years, under the administration of the former secretary and now federal convict, Julia B. Keleher. Although the plan identifies some as receivers schools, it does not specify from which closed campus they will receive students. Document: “Vision of the future” of the Department of Education of Puerto RicoDownload
These new proposed closings clash with teacher unions’ demands for more space to guarantee small groups of students in the face of the COVID-19 rebound, as well as from other organizations and academics that have proven how the quality of teaching improves through these practices.