Medill class of 2018 grad Hannah Wiley reported on the effects of austerity and Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico’s public schools for In These Times in June. Here’s a teaser:
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—It’s Valentine’s Day at Eleanor Roosevelt elementary, and chocolate goodies and Krispy Kreme donuts sit in the back of Axamara Pérez’s classroom. Her first-graders are eager to finish their assignment so they can start the party.
Since Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, “to get them excited about something, you really have to do a lot,” says Pérez.
It’s almost impossible to forget realities on the island, which include hurricane recovery, a 12-year financial crisis and devastating austerity measures. The island owes bondholders $75 billion, a result of mismanagement and a century under a colonial superpower. To save money, 179 schools have been shuttered, and Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher announced in April that a quarter of the 1,100 remaining schools will close this summer…. [See full story here.]