Home > Uncategorized > No Surprise Here: Disaster Capitalism Arrives in Puerto Rico in the form of “Expanded Choice”

No Surprise Here: Disaster Capitalism Arrives in Puerto Rico in the form of “Expanded Choice”

November 1, 2018

In a development that is no surprise whatsoever to this blogger, Education Week blogger Andrew Uljfusa reports that according to a “Top DeVos Deputy, Puerto Rico Will Be a ‘Beacon’ of School Choice“. Here’s the introductory paragraphs to his article describing this development:

A leading U.S. Department of Education official believes big changes to Puerto Rico’s school system, including a new law permitting charter schools and vouchers, represent a courageous and important step forward after Hurricane Maria.

Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, praised Puerto Rico Secretary of Eduation Julia Keleher and other government leaders for sucessfully paving the way for charter schools and vouchers, which were both previously illegal in the U.S. territory. In remarks at a Heritage Foundation event Wednesday about school choice in Puerto Rico, he said they would ultimately help improve the long-struggling school system there and provide dividends for the island’s future.

As noted in three earlier posts on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the vulture capitalists have been waiting in the trees that weren’t blown down by the Hurricane and, as Mr. Uljfusa reports, they are now picking away at the bones of the devastated school system. Vouchers will be available in 2019-20, charters are proliferating, and 250 public schools closed. DeVos’ assistant secretary used his visit to make it clear where the obstructionists are:

“It will in its own way be a laboratory of observation for people all over the country who are going to look to Puerto Rico as a beacon of example of what change can bring,” Brogan said, “especially when you’re in a position to put down at least temporarily the forces who would keep it exactly the way it has always been.”

Those “forces” Brogan referenced consist of mainly of Puerto Rico’s teachers’ union, which fought the creation of “alianza” (essentially charter-like) schools in Puerto Rico. They and others argued the law that created the choice measures would permanently cripple traditional public schools, cause many teachers to leave the island, and lead to a wave of education privatization on the island.Ultimately, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court upheld the law as written.

As noted in recent posts about the impact of “choice” and privatization on New Orleans, Puerto Rico is likely to witness more inequality, more flight from public schools by engaged parents, and less funding for public education as a result. Oh… and also an inferior public school system as a result…

My prediction: stay tuned in the Florida panhandle where I am confident the vulture capitalists are circling as public schools struggle to reopen.

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