31st March 2008
Although the Puerto Rican teachers made some gains from their recent strike, they are now facing decertification.
The Puerto Rican teachers stopped their action on March 5th after a ten day strike which was very well supported by the membership despite threats of legal action and the sacking of seventeen teachers for taking action. As a result of the strike the government agreed to drop its privatisation proposals and increased teacher salaries by $250 a month - however this still does not bring Puerto Rican teachers up to the average in the rest of the US. In addition the government has agreed to set aside funds to improve infrastructure in the crumbling Puerto Rican schools.
The action was marked by large demonstrations of teachers and large scale support of parents for the teachers' demands. The Governor of Puerto Rico, Anibal Acevedo is at present being indicted for fraud. Many believe that money which should have been going into education has not been doing so. Meanwhile the teachers' union - the FNPR has prepared a new group of leaders to take over from those who have been decertified as a result of the strike and they will be coming up for election shortly.
Many locals in the US AFT and NEA are expressing solidarity with their colleagues in Puerto Rico and there is a lively campaign for the reinstatement of the 17 sacked teachers which is meeting with some success.