Mothers, fathers and caretakers of Montessori public schools expressed their readiness to work hand in hand with the Department of Education in preparing a regulation for the Auxiliary Secretariat for Montessori Education (SAEM), after the governor Wanda Vázquez Garced ordered to withdraw the document that the agency filed with the State Department.
Members of the Montessori community learned of the order that the first executive gave to the Secretary of Education, Eligio Hernández Pérez prior to the start of a press conference in which, precisely, they would request the withdrawal of the document that would have come into force next week.
“Just when we were proposing to go one step further to defend the Montessori public schools project, which has served communities so well, we received the news that the governor finally heard us and gave or the instruction to immediately withdraw the regulation that had the effect of dismantling everything that had already been built ”said Daliana Suárez, mother of a student at the Juan Ponce de León school, in Guaynabo, and spokesperson of the Montessori group for All.
The regulation for Montessori public schools was ordered by Law 277 of 2018, which created SAEM through legislation, which was originally created by circular letter. Education announced during a public hearing of the Senate Education and Finance Commissions – which are investigating compliance with that legislation – that the regulation was filed with the State Department on June 10.
Detractors of the Education regulation They have denounced that this detracts from SAEM's autonomy, since it places it as a program under the Undersecretariat for Academic Affairs and not an auxiliary secretariat. According to parents, the document produced by the agency would put at risk the multigrade organization of Montessori salons – known as environments -, would modify the extraordinary processes of recruitment of specialized personnel and discourage learning guided by the curiosity and interests of the student to force them to impose a curriculum-guided teaching.
However, Hernández Pérez had pointed out that the regulation is aligned with the legislation. In a previous interview with this newspaper, the secretary explained that the regulation also complied with the agency's current regulations, since changes that the Montessori community requires cannot yet be implemented. He mentioned, for example, that extraordinary teacher recruitment processes could generate challenges from unselected teachers, which would cost the agency money.
Suárez recalled that the Montessori community already worked on a draft regulation in the summer of the year past, which complies with the provisions of Law 277.
"It took us about three months of work, it was well detailed and that is why we have no problem working to get a good regulation approved," he said. Suárez.
The governor's expressions occurred after, last week, she became engaged to a student at the Montessori Inocencio Cintrón Zayas school in Barranquitas, who would order the withdrawal of the regulations that have caused so much controversy .
Hilda Núñez, mother of Ian Giovanni Rivera Núñez, related that the minor wanted to meet the first executive and managed to meet her after arriving at a restaurant in which I was eating. That day, the president was in Aibonito and the Montessori for All group asked her to come to that municipality as part of the actions to demand a new regulation.
"Ian Giovanni gave him a letter from Montessori for All and asked him to the governor who did not lose her. She promised her that she would not lose the letter and she said, 'I want you to know that I have already asked the Secretary of Education to withdraw the regulations,' ”Núñez said of the conversation between Vázquez Garced and his son last Thursday.
Before accepting the Montessori community's claim, the governor had already announced in her budget message that they would increase to $ 6 million the allocation for Montessori public schools through the Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE) .
Likewise, the executive director of the INE, Ana María García Blanco, indicated that on Monday the authorization was obtained to use during the first three months of this fiscal year the funds left over from the budget assigned last fiscal year . This extension until September allowed yesterday, Wednesday, the assistants of Montessori school teachers to be hired who will help this month to prepare the necessary materials to teach from August, either remotely or in person on campus.
“This is another good news that we have received, because in this way the assistants can prepare the semester, the materials, the Travel Boxes, shake hands with the guides. Yesterday, the attendees could be hired. The secretary, since March, had told us that this could happen and we thank him at all times for supporting the use of this budget that was not fully used due to the interruptions in the semester, "said García Blanco.