Oversight Board Holds Public Hearing on Education

Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

MEDIA RELEASE 

Oversight Board Holds Public Hearing on Education

Members of the Board stress the need for financial management

(San Juan, PR – November 13, 2019) – The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico held a public hearing today to learn about the Puerto Rico’s Department of Education (PRDE) progress in implementing the Certified Fiscal Plan and carrying out reforms that will benefit the students of Puerto Rico. The hearing was attended by PRDE’s secretary Eligio Hernández and staff, as well as private sector educators and education experts.

During the hearing, members of the Oversight Board and executive director, Natalie Jaresko, questioned PRDE’s secretary Hernández and his staff about the implementation of necessary measures relating to effective management, the agency’s special education program, federal funding, among other issues that are outlined in the Certified Fiscal Plan.

Other government officials and private sector education experts, including parents of special education students, discussed the public-school system in Puerto Rico and their experiences dealing with the PRDE. Many of the attendants noted the obstacles that prevent the public education system from transforming and improving student academic achievement. The educators and experts made specific recommendations on how to improve the public education system.

“Education reform is vital for the people of Puerto Rico and long-term economic sustainability,” said José Carrión, the chairman of the Oversight Board. “Our children will see first-hand the transformation of a system centered around our children’s educational needs. Our children are our future. That is why we need to see education as the foundation of our society and the cornerstone of our economy.”

Meanwhile, Jaresko said that the PRDE needs to set high aspirations to improve gaps in academic achievement. “We cannot restore growth and opportunity without improving the education system in Puerto Rico.  The Certified Fiscal Plan assumes the education reform will generate 0.17% of economic growth by the fiscal year 2049. The changes to the school system will revamp and modernize the school’s curriculum to ensure that children obtain the necessary skill set to integrate into Puerto Rico’s economy and ensure its future development.”

The Oversight Board acknowledged that the Government is taking the steps to ensure quality education for Puerto Rican children. “However, much work remains to be done,” Jaresko said. “The children of Puerto Rico deserve an efficient and reliable education system in order to enjoy a dynamic and prosperous economy.”