Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Badass Teachers Association Call on ALL Educators to Stand in Strong Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FederaciĆ³n de Maestros de Puerto Rico, FMPR)

In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and took thousands of lives.  After the destruction of Katrina, the New Orleans Public School System was destroyed.  Instead of replacing the public school system, the state of Louisiana collaborated with education “reformers” to turn over 107 of the 128 public schools in New Orleans to the all-charter Recover School District (RSD).    You can read about it here  

How did that work out?  According to Professor Bill Quigley in his article New Orleans CharterSchool Problems Exposed At NAACP Hearing, not so well:
"In summary, the NAACP heard that the charter system remains highly segregated by race and economic status. Students have significantly longer commutes to and from school. The percentage of African American teachers has declined dramatically leaving less experienced teachers who are less likely to be accredited and less likely to remain in the system. The costs of administration have gone up while resources for teaching have declined. Several special select schools have their own admission process which results in racially and economically different student bodies. The top administrator of one K-12 system of three schools is paid over a quarter of a million dollars. Students with disabilities have been ill-served. Fraud and mismanagement, which certainly predated the conversion to charter schools, continue to occur. Thousands of students are in below average schools. Students and parents feel disempowered and ignored by the system."

In October  of 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed the island of Puerto Rico and many lives were lost.  After the destruction from Maria, Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary Julia Keleher has “already called New Orleans’ school reform efforts a “point of reference” — tweeting last week that Puerto Ricans “should not underestimate the damage or the opportunity to create new, better schools.” She repeated these sentiments on Monday, saying that the aftermath of Maria provides a “real opportunity to press the reset button.”  

Puerto Rican teachers are not going to stand by and let this happen.  Yesterday Teachers of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FederaciĆ³n de Maestros de Puerto Rico, FMPR) fought to defend their public schools and stand firmly in opposition to another post-Katrina takeover of public education.  Jerry White reports,  "Teachers charge that Department of Education Secretary Julia Keleher is using the crisis as an opportunity to close hundreds of public schools, lay off senior teachers and privatize public education.” 
Twenty-one members of the FMPR were arrested yesterday for standing up to save their public schools, demand the Puerto Rico Department of Education work to reopen public schools for the children of Puerto Rico, and to stop the privatization efforts that failed in New Orleans.  You can view their press conference here  

Members of The Badass Teachers Association (BATs), a national grassroots education activist organization with over 300,000 members, stands in strong solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the FMPR. We will continue to report and expose the efforts to privatize public education in Puerto Rico.  BATs will continue to support the FMPR in their fight for all children to have a strong public school system!

To keep up with the movements of FMPR to save public education in Puerto Rico you can go to their Facebook page

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