Gurabo. The Secretary of the United States Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, and the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, announced this afternoon the beginning of the process of administrative decentralization of the education system on the island and the implementation of regional autonomy.
The transition, which is working closely with the federal government, is part of a series of decisions that have been made to try to transform the country’s education system.
“Today we launch the Department of Education, IDEAR’s initiative for educational decentralization and regional autonomy, as we set out to create an agile and responsive department to the needs of our students. The IDEAR initiative is part of my office in collaboration with our Department of Education. is a joint action led, with the full support of the Federal Department of Education, directly from Secretary Miguel Cardona. The goal is to make viable this decentralization of the educational system so that all of our students, as well as their parents, and their teachers, have access to their own and generations to come can have confidence in the future,” Pierluisi said during the announcement, which took place at the Villa Marina Elementary School in Gurabo, and was attended by Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos as well as other members of his cabinet. Had taken.
Secretary Cardona assured that the change proposal has the commitment and support of the federal Department of Education and the White House, and was clear in his statement that “the Department of Education is going to decentralize” because “decisions are made by those” who care about students. are close.
“What we’re doing now has to change. What we’re doing is not enough for the students of Puerto Rico,” lamented Secretary Cardona, who added that natural disasters and the previous administration’s negligence caused interruptions ” Left a system with a lot of needs.”
“We are going to depoliticize education on the island and we are going to create a culture of transparency,” the federal secretary stressed, adding that the announcement is based on a “loud and clear message, that schools need more autonomy, and It’s Time to Action”, which he received from various parties including students, teachers, families and officials.
As part of the declaration, the chief executive signed Executive Order 2023-014, officially initiating the initiative, establishing decentralization as a public policy through which to achieve greater autonomy in regional school offices. Strategies and action will be outlined for, and thereby, improving the quality of education and services provided to our students.
As explained, the order creates an executive committee made up of officials, including the secretaries of the Interior, the secretaries of education and finance, and the executive director of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as representatives from the secretary. The federal Department of Education and a representative of the school community. The said committee will be tasked to submit a report within 90 days after consulting experts in the field of education, listening to inputs from the school community and evaluating various models and practices existing in other jurisdictions. Recommendations, adapted to Puerto Rico of the new model to be implemented.
The governor stressed that “this initiative has the full commitment of me and my work team, as well as the federal government through Secretary Cardona and his team. This means that from La Fortaleza we will promote this effort so that it To make sure we enact the changes we need and all students deserve. I’m turning to us because I know this state and federal collaboration is going to deliver great results.”
“The key is to give schools and educational sectors more autonomy, so that they are the decision-makers and make sure they meet the needs of our students. If one of our students in Orocovis needs support in his or her learning process , then decisions and resources must come from her school and her educational area in the Mountain, not from an office in the San Juan metropolitan area. If a school in Humacao needs a blackboard or desk, it must direct it to its principal and regional director. through quickly, without waiting for the cumbersome central requisition process, which can take months at the department’s headquarters,” he stressed. , saying that, to achieve this objective, “we are going to slowly, gradually, separate the state functions from the local ones, so that there is continuity in the educational vision, while there is agility in the execution. ”
Similarly, the governor announced the launch of the P-Card initiative, under which every school principal will have a debit card that will allow them to directly purchase their daily supplies. This card will allow purchase from a pre-approved list of materials and will be subject to caps per school and per month. Similarly, each school site will receive an enhanced basic basket of educational content prior to the start of the school semester.
He also announced that the DE will have a transparency portal from the beginning of next semester, “similar to COR3, Vivienda and PRASA, in which all information on funds received by the Department of Education and in which initiatives are being used”.