Education in Puerto Rico
|Department of Education
Council on Higher Education
|National education budget|
|Budget||$3.5 billion US$|
|Primary languages||Spanish, English|
|System type||state, private|
|Part of a series on|
|Education in Puerto Rico|
|Primary and secondary school|
Education in Puerto Rico is overseen by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Education Council. The Department oversees all elementary and secondary public education while the Council oversees all academic standards and issues licenses to educational institutions wishing to operate or establish themselves in Puerto Rico.
Instruction in Puerto Rico is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 18, which comprises the elementary and high school grades. Students in Puerto Rico may attend either public or private schools. As of 2013, there were 1,460 public schools and 764 private schools on the island.
The literacy rate of the Puerto Rican population was 94.1% in 2002; when divided by gender, this is distributed as 93.9% for males and 94.4% for females. According to the 2000 Census, 60.0% of the population attained a high school degree or higher level of education, and 18.3% has a bachelor's degree or higher.[needs update]
- 1 History
- 2 Levels
- 3 Elementary and secondary education
- 4 Higher education in Puerto Rico
- 5 Contemporary issues
- 6 Notable Puerto Rico educators
- 7 Further reading
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
|This section requires expansion. (December 2012)|
The first school in Puerto Rico and the first school in the United States after Puerto Rico became a US territory, was the Escuela de Gramática (English: Grammar School). The school was established by Bishop Alonso Manso in 1513, in the area where the Cathedral of San Juan was to be constructed. The school was free of charge and the courses taught were Latin language, literature, history, science, art, philosophy and theology.
The educational system in Puerto Rico consists of seven categories. These categories are based on the educational levels covered:
|#||Level||Age||Commonly known as||Compulsion||Remarks|
|1||nursery school||0–4||pre-K||optional||comprises Early Head Start, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten|
|3||elementary education||6–11||1–6||compulsory||comprises first grade to sixth grade|
|4||junior high school||12–14||7–9||compulsory||comprises seventh grade to ninth grade|
|5||high school||15–17||10–12||compulsory||comprises tenth grade to twelfth grade|
|6||undergraduate||18+||college||optional||comprises associate and/or bachelor's degree|
|7||graduate||22+||graduate school||optional||comprises master's degree, doctorate, and/or post-doctorate|
Some Puerto Rican schools, most notably in rural areas, offer kinder to ninth grade (K–9) at the same institution and are referred to as Segunda Unidad (English: Second Unit). Other schools offer seventh grade to twelfth grade (7–12) at the same institution and are referred to as Nivel Secundario (English: Secondary Level).
Elementary and secondary education
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico grants the right to an education to every citizen on the island. To this end, public schools in Puerto Rico provide free and secular education at the elementary and secondary levels.
The public school system is funded by the state and is operated by the Puerto Rico Department of Education (Departamento de Educación del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico) . The department employs over 45 thousand teachers of which 32,000 have full-time tenureships and are organized under the independent union Teachers' Federation of Puerto Rico. The remaining teachers are either temporary or contracted on a yearly basis.
Public schools in Puerto Rico are subject to the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Unlike most schools in the United States, public school instruction in Puerto Rico is conducted entirely in Spanish. English is taught as a second language and is a compulsory subject at all levels. In the early years following the 1898 American occupation of the island, the opposite was true: public schooling was entirely conducted in English, and Spanish was treated as a special subject (the practice ended in 1915). In 2012, pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño caused controversy when he proposed that all courses in Puerto Rico public schools be taught in English instead of Spanish as they currently are.
Private schools in Puerto Rico are operated by non-governmental institutions. Accredited elementary and secondary private schools in Puerto Rico must meet minimum public education requirements for academic work (P.R. Laws Ann. Tit. 18, § 57).
Homeschooling, an alternative form of education, is legal in Puerto Rico but is neither regulated nor legislated.
The issue of legislation has caused a serious rift within the homeschooling community. While some of these parents want the government to establish a public policy on homeschooling, others oppose all forms of legislation. They also allege that the lack of regulation has led them to confront difficulties when interacting with the government, as evidenced in the case of a homeschooled student who was denied federal Social Security benefits.
From the Applicable Law portion of the decision:
Student benefits are payable if the student meets the Federal standards for full-time attendance (FTA) (RS 00205.300C.); the law of the State in which the home school is located recognizes home school as an educational institution (El); the home school the student attends meets the requirements of State law in which the home school is located; and the student meets all the other requirements for benefits.
Education is compulsory in Puerto Rico between the ages of six and seventeen years. 3L.P.R.A. §391 (a).Attendance in public elementary and secondary schools is compulsory for students except for those students attending "schools established under non-governmental auspices." - Puerto Rico Constitution, Article II §5; 18 L.P.R.A. §2.
After careful consideration of all the evidence, the undersigned Administrative Law Judge concludes the claimant did not attend a sanctioned homeschool program approved by the Puerto Rican legislature within the meaning of the Social Security Act from December 1, 2003 to August 1, 2004.
Higher education in Puerto Rico
Over half of the students entering college level institutions in Puerto Rico, never graduate: only 41% of 4-year students in public universities and 33% in private institutions get a diploma.
Community colleges & technical institutes
Colleges and universities
The largest public university in Puerto Rico is the multi-campus University of Puerto Rico. The largest private university systems on the island are the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez which operates the Universidad del Turabo, Metropolitan University and Universidad del Este; the multi-campus Interamerican University; the Pontificial Catholic University; Caribbean University; Carlos Albizu University; and the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.
Puerto Rico has over 50 institutions of higher learning.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2012)|
A recent study by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico showed that about 40% of all the students that enter tenth grade in public schools in Puerto Rico drop out and never finish secondary education.
A January 2014 news report stated that 55% of parents with children in public schools picked up their children's grades for the first semester of 2013–2014 school year on the scheduled day.
Poor performance in public schools
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, ninety-five percent (95%) of public school students in Puerto Rico graduate at a sub-basic level while sixty percent (60%) do not even graduate. Furthermore, according to the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, thirty-nine percent (39%) of public school students perform at a basic level (average performance) in Spanish in the Puerto Rican Tests of Academic Achievement. Likewise, 36% perform at a basic level in Mathematics while 35% perform at a basic level in English and 43% at a basic level in Science in said tests.
Moreover, studies published in 2003, 2005, and 2007 by the United States National Center for Education Statistics as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) concluded that Puerto Rico falls below basic levels when compared to the United States—being basic defined as "partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work" according to NAEP. In particular the findings showed that:
- Overall, fourth- and eighth-grade students in Puerto Rico scored lower, on average, than public school students in the United States.
- Twelve percent (12%) of students in Puerto Rico scored at or above basic in fourth grade in comparison to the United States where 79% of students scored at or above basic in the same grade.
- Six percent (6%) of students in Puerto Rico scored at or above basic in eighth grade in comparison to the United States where 68% of students in the United States scored at or above basic in the same grade.
Market demand for college graduates
Puerto Rico is atypical as many youngsters pursue post-secondary studies even though the local market has no demand for them. For example, in 2012 50,000 students graduated at the undergraduate and graduate level while the labor market generated only about 6,000 jobs per year of which only 25% of those required that level of education.[a] This effectively means that the Puerto Rican market has no demand for 97% of those who graduate with an undergraduate or graduate degree in Puerto Rico, although many find jobs out of the island.
Notable Puerto Rico educators
- Lolita Tizol
- Alfredo M. Aguayo
- Mariano Villaronga-Toro
- Maria Teresa Babin
- Elias Lopez Soba
- Eugenio María de Hostos
- La Junta Local de Instrucción Pública de Ponce: una Experiencia Histórica (1900-1910). Cristina R. Torres. Caribbean University, Recinto de Ponce. 2011. (Accessible through La Revista de Investigación Cualitativa, ISSN 2164-7216, Unión Puertorriqueña de Investigadores Cualitativos (UPIC), sistema de acceso abierto (OJS). "Revistas de la Universidad de Puerto Rico." University of Puerto Rico.) Discusses the topic of the municipalization of public education in Puerto Rico.
- Calderón (2013; in Spanish) "En 2012, se graduaron cerca de 50,000 estudiantes de nivel subgraduado y graduado y se proyectaba que el mercado laboral generara en promedio cerca de 6,000* empleos por año, de los cuales sólo el 25% requiere esos niveles de educación."
- "Conoce el Departamento de Educación | Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico". de.gobierno.pr. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- Calderón, Jaime (October 2013). "Panorama del sector educativo" (in Spanish). Puerto Rico Education Council. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- CIA FactBook
- Census 2000 Educational Attainment Data
- "Hispanic Firsts", By; Nicolas Kanellos, publisher Visible Ink Press; ISBN 0-7876-0519-0; p.40
- Online Guide to Educational Systems Around the World - Puerto Rico. NAFSA.Page 4. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Coto, Danica (May 8, 2012). "Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño Proposes Plan For Island's Public Schools To Teach In English Instead Of Spanish". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Muchos estudiantes y pocos los diplomas. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Retrieved 22 June 1012.
- "Home - El Nuevo Día". elnuevodia.com. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Poco más de la mitad de los padres fueron a buscar notas de sus hijos" (in Spanish). Metro International. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Carta de Ricardo Rossello a Claridad". scribd.com. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- Puerto Rico Department of Education, Library and Information Services Program (21 September 2012). "Puerto Rico Five Year Plan 2013-2017". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- G.P., Baxter, M.M., Bleeker, T.L. Waits and S. Salvucci (14 March 2007). "The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2003 and 2005 Performance in Puerto Rico". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- G.S. Dion, J.G. Haberstroh, and A.R. Dresher (15 March 2007). "The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2005 Performance in Puerto Rico: Focus on the Content Areas". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Commissioner's Remarks - National Assessment of Educational Progress
The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2003 and 2005 Performance in Puerto Rico—Highlights
The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2005 Performance in Puerto Rico—Focus on the Content Areas - March 29, 2007". nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Home - El Nuevo Día". elnuevodia.com. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- Solsitee del Moral, Negotiating Empire: The Cultural Politics of Schools in Puerto Rico, 1898–1952. Madison, WI; University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.