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PuertoRicoWOW News Service
Rossello And Fajardo Defend Education Reform
by Proviana Colon Diaz
September 30, 2000
Gov. Pedro Rossello and Education Secretary Victor Fajardo acknowledged that they are not satisfied with the results obtained by students of the public school system on achievement tests but said the results were just an element of the educational reform.
According to published reports on information provided by the department, the students of the public education system received poor grades in the achievement tests that they took to measure their learning in major academic subjects.
An infuriated Rossello accused the newspaper that published the article in question of "constantly prejudiced journalism."
Rossello said the paper took into consideration only one element of the whole reform and forgot to mention the achievements accomplished, such as special programs in science and mathematics in which students continuously get higher scores than those in private schools.
Furthermore, according to Rossello, the article failed to mention the improvement to school structures, the $78 million investment to grant books to all children, the teacher salary increase, or the community schools.
Comparing the evaluations of the past school year with the one taken four years ago, the results do not demonstrate significant changes, in fact, test scores continue to drop. The tests are administered to students in third, sixth, ninth, and 11th grade.
Both Rossello and Fajardo said the scores obtained could not be compared with those of four years ago because the standard was higher today than it was four years ago.
"Supposed that the standard of height required four years ago was 5 feet, and today it is 6 feet. 50% do not fit the 6-foot mark; does that mean that they all fail?" Rossello said.
The students in the 11th grade received the lowest grades in chemistry, only passed by 7% of the students, and physics, passed by 9.9%.
Fajardo did not question the veracity of the numbers but said low scores in the science and mathematic fields are not only a problem faced by Puerto Rico students but by those of the U.S. as well.