« States Are Failing to 'Put Students' Civil Rights First' in ESSA Plans, Advocates Say | Main | See Which Obama Education Initiatives Trump's Shut Down, and Which Survive »

This Is What Hundreds of School Closures in Puerto Rico Looks Like

PuertoRicoSchoolClosuresMap.PNGWhat does it look like when you close more than 250 schools in one summer? Puerto Rico is about to find out.

The U.S. territory's education department has decided to close 263 schools before the 2018-19 school year. Our new map shows you the location, name, and other key information for each of these schools in Puerto Rico. In addition, the map displays schools that will receive students who are displaced from the schools schedued to shut down. Driving distances between these closing and receiving schools are also displayed at the same landing page where you can interact with the map. (You can also click the map at the top of this blog post to go to the landing page.)

Hurricane Maria has a significant impact on the island's public education system. But Puerto Rico has also been struggling with declining enrollment for the last several years, and the island's government has been in the grip of severe fiscal problems. 

Critics of the government's plan, which is being disputed in the courts, say shutting down so many schools will drive away both teachers and students, and also have a tremendous negative impact on communities. But Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher said closing schools and consolidating their student bodies with other schools is a crucial step toward better distributing more resources to more students. A recent study showed that about 650 schools were at less than 70 percent of capacity in terms of student enrollment, she noted.

"It's creating an unfair and disadvantageous learning environment for kids," Keleher said of such enrollment patterns. 

An initial study justified closing 305 schools, much higher than the final number her department settled on, Keleher said. Her department then had to take into account geography, the impact on rural communities, and more, she said. And the environment is still unsettled, she stressed: While a little more than 260,000 students on the island have re-enrolled in public school, she's still waiting for roughly 50,000 to make their decisions about where they will attend schools next year. 

"It's much more complicated than I think anyone has been able to effectively convey," Keleher said. "These kids deserve full faculties. They deserve books. They deserve technology."

Click here for see our coverage from Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria and from earlier this year


Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12And follow Politics K-12 reporter Andrew Ujifusa at @AndrewUjifusa

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments