Education Reform in Puerto Rico: Leaving Children Behind in a 21st Century American Colony
Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States. The statutory laws of the U.S. have the same force and effect as in the United States. Puerto Ricans are citizens as far as the law and the mandates of the U.S.,but treated differently when it comes to receiving the benefits that U.S. citizens enjoy. This discrepancy is perhaps most blatant when one examines Education and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB calls for students to be able to master basic skills by mastering standardized assessments. Additionally, it requires that all be teachers be considered "highly qualified". The “one size fits all” definitions of both of the above take on a different dimension when applied to an entity in which English is not the native language. The purpose of this presentation is to explore the difficulties imposed by this legislation on “U.S. territories” in general and Puerto Rico in particular. Statistics will be provided describing how the discrepancies of accountability vs. lack of financial and logistical support result in poor educational outcomes. Further, discussion will center on unique situations posed by colonialism in the 21st century from a global perspective.
Keywords: Accountability, Colonization, Education, Education Reform, NCLB, No Child Left Behind
Dr. Joseph Nolan
Program Director, Special Education Doctoral Program, College of Education, Walden University
Assistant Professor, Special Education