There’s No Need to Shout Bravo in Puerto Rico: Let’s Hold a Discussion First

I told former Secretary of State Kenneth Mc Clintock that Puerto Rico could be returned to Spain so that Puerto Ricans could have opportunities in the European Union.  Consistent with that idea and thought is just what Thomas Bravo is investing in.  Puerto Rico needs to be repopulated badly and the Bravo plan may be consistent with my thought that India could repopulate Puerto Rico.  My computer (brain) has been working for years and I had to find out more about the $100 million donation right away

This message was taken from the Bravo Foundation which knows about the 44 percent poverty rate of Puerto Rico which has to very closely linked to the educational problems that I will address here.  I believe in social justice, but is the effort hitting the bulls’ eye or just the target?  “Our mission is to foster basic principles of social justice in Puerto Rico. We seek to nurture a more just society, in which youths of all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to personal growth and economic development opportunities.” 

On the same day that Governor Rosselló held a town hall meeting in Kissimmee, Florida to get much more support for Puerto Rico in its struggle with the Trump Administration and the Congress, Kenneth Mc Clintock, former Secretary of State of Puerto Rico under Governor Luis Fortuño, was a guest presenter in a free conferenece call about the conditions in Puerto Rico.

Of course the repopulation of Puerto Rico by people from India and other countries will not go over well if Silicon Valley plays a major role in reconstructing Puerto Rico.  There will be more hate created than we need.  And so far I see in the announcement of the $100 million donation a lot about business and little about humanitarian improvement.  I also see the destruction of Puerto Rico’s unions including the large teachers’ union coming and I count among its leaders some of my readers.  It is time for all teachers in Puerto Rico and all Puerto Ricans to learn about my ideas now and there should be no holding back.  There are lots of Puerto Rican businessmen, I am reasonably certain, that would shoot down my ideas as soon as the media spreads the word about them.  Consider this.  Bill Gates dropped out of high school briefly and then dropped out of Harvard.  Had he really dropped out of high school and earned his high school equivalency and grew up in Mayagüez like Orlando Bravo, Microsoft might have developed in Puerto Rico instead of Washington (Seattle), giving jobs to a huge number of people and generating lots of millionaires.  Business is important to Puerto Rico, but everyone there is important and we should not forget that.  And everyone on the island should have access to critical training.

I have been to Puerto Rico to fight for the people of Puerto Rico, but just like any other country (or territory) the people are very divided.  The Independence Party of Puerto Rico cared more for governmental power, I noticed from my chair at home, than helping the poorest of Puerto Ricans.  Business people normally want to pay people less not more.  It’s the same everywhere.  In New York City there are about 1.5 million adults without even a high school diploma and in Puerto Rico before the exodus (the diaspora referred to is that of the 21st century) there were a million adults without a diploma.  The high school equivalency failures of Puerto Rico during those decades have impacted on families and Puerto Rican government was as responsible for those failures as the people who failed the test or who failed to even start preparing for the test.  The sands of Puerto Rico hid the heads of those elected officials and their staff.

The Puerto Rican government should finally provide annual statistics for all the years that it sent N/A or not available to the American Council on Education which controlled GED testing then in Puerto Rico.  Then Puerto Rico created its own test which I could not obtain any information about from Governor Rossello’s office.  There was no transparency when I contacted the staff regarding educational issues and even my request to expand access to an important agreement made between Florida and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria went unanswered.  Maybe Orlando Bravo’s money should be used as well to teach the office of the governor new skills that would really dramatically help the people.  In addition to that if the high school equivalency test is still free in Puerto Rico, that will not work to help as the funding for testing has to be immense instead of minimal.  In addition if the diploma or certificate is not universally recognized in the United States and other countries, that is as close to fraud as things could possibly be (Puerto Rico developed its own test).  Keep in mind that Certificates of Completion have been given out to students in New York, for example, and those certificates are worthless and who caused that?  People in the department of education where they live (city and state).

The Bravo announcement is not at all different from the announcement of Yo Amo America made by the Inter-American Development Bank over a decade ago, using Juan Luis Guerra, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Alejandro Sanz, and others to help them develop something that they probably considered to be of enormous potential.  What were the results?  Let’s read about the impact over the years and decide if the same thing could have been accomplished by a placebo.  Yo Amo Puerto Rico and I demand much more and my ideas need a seat at the table to discuss things before the money’s all been spent.

The N.A.A.C.P. approved support for statehood for Puerto Rico but rescinded it almost immediately.  The support for charter schools in Puerto Rico must have been a key factor to make that political detour.  Bernie Sanders just announced that if he becomes president in 2020, there will be no federal funding of private charter schools.  I have played a role in some of that, but I support all residents of Puerto Rico who attend neighborhood schools and the teachers’ union that I have had contact with for over a year.  My suggestions will also benefit students in charter schools and their parents.

I propose this plan of education where deliberate indifference to the people of Puerto Rico will not take place.

Students in the public schools of Puerto Rico could immediately benefit by the constant flow of instruction on FACEBOOK that will reach the home through the schools and keep all students on track, increasing graduation immediately and for years to come.

Donations could help fund the high school equivalency test taking and people who have enough money could pay to take the test if there is an obvious shortage of private donations.  I have long suggested that people like Carlos Slim of Mexico take a break from their favorite charities and devote the time and money to the high school equivalency.

Puerto Rico’s high school equivalency testing program (if it is valid) could be expanded to other countries, the way that the American Council on Education expanded the G.E.D. around the world.  Puerto Rico had the G.E.D. test translated in 1973 to help all Spanish test takers, but that was more than 30 years after the English test was created in World War II for American youth who dropped out of high school to fight in the war.  A new vital testing program in Puerto Rico can create jobs for people.  Puerto Rico’s Education Act of 1949 which required Spanish language test takers to pass an English exam was never changed even though Legislator Ramirez proposed revising that law for Puerto Rico’s immigrants.  The law was a disaster for Puerto Ricans as well as valuable research will show.  Where were the other legislators, senators, and staff members all those years? They surely had very limited understanding of what they had done to make things worse in Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico could also use additional high school equivalency help from the other test companies.  Why should people be asked to wait to earn a diploma when one of the testing companies could provide immediate testing on demand?

Parents and children should be educated.  Universal pre-k which Mayor Bill de Blasio of Puerto Rico was instrumental in developing and he made that known to mayors across the United States who thought he was genius were wrong.  The pre-k program had to be developed with high school equivalency programs for the parents and other adults.  Long before de Blasio, for example, I reached out to Mississippi and West Virginia.  West Virginia had a very poor graduation rate from high school and Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana lagged way behind in educating people in Colorado at the time of Hurricane Katrina. 

People who desire good paying jobs have to be trained in “coding” and Puerto Rico could start a coding program for everyone online.  Have you looked at the Jovan Coding announcement in the last sentence?  Coding in Spanish now will happen people all over the Spanish speaking world and Puerto Rico can initiate that. 

The United States Department of Education put out a free English program for Spanish speakers who needed to learn English.  That program only reached a fraction of the people who needed it.  Think of all the immigrants crossing the border right now who could benefit.  Do the immigrant detention camps have access to the program?  US Learns is the program.  How many people in Puerto Rico could benefit from the program right now?

The publisher of Jewish Business News in Israel is ready to be a business to help people who need psychological help by phone or the internet.  Her program is called Dear Lili and she is just about ready to start up in the United States.  We can reach out to her and bring badly needed help to Puerto Rico.

I met the president of the New York City Central Labor Council (representing 2 million workers in New York City) in the El Caribe Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I did a big favor for him that involved the government of El Salvador and he appreciated.  When I visited his small office later, we agreed that we would mobilize 300 people in each borough each week toward obtaining their high school equivalency diploma, something that the city of New York’s programs could never accomplish well without my knowledge.  That labor leader was later arrested for embezzlement and his successor did not wish to participate with me in my plan to help (the world).

Around that time I put together my first G.E.D. Roundtable and yes the government of Puerto Rico was represented.  Yes the government of El Salvador was represented.  Yes the government of the Dominican Republic was represented.  Yes the government of Mexico was represented.  The office of DC-37 was represented.  People came from Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Chicago as well.  The office of Senator Hillary Clinton was represented by her senior Hispanic advisor.  I did that “Roundtable” with Hector Gesualdo, the executive director of ASPIRA of New York who was one of my top two collaborators.  Hector is no longer with us, but his telephone number has not been deleted from my cell phone list.  These are all memories now with small accomplishments.  Why?   People in power hold the progress of the poor back.  Those poor are still in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico today as leaders in government there make decisions that have little impact.  Here is the article from early 2006 about that Mesa Redonda or Roundtable. 

Orlando Bravo should sit down with all of Puerto Rico.  The teachers’ union members need great assurances and they can be helpful in creating the best progressive agenda for Puerto Rico.  We cannot just count on the education department of Puerto Rico to get the people where they have to go.  The churches of Puerto Rico should be at the table, but not because of the faith culture.  Nobody should be left out and nobody should be left behind.  The universities should be at the table as well since they should have previously unexplored ideas.  My point is that Orlando Bravo has pledged $100 million and everyone should be providing feedback so that he can get the most bang for his buck and to discuss transparency.  What research does he have to show that his ideas will add up to something great for Puerto Rico?  And the media must play an important role in all of this.  Looking at the mistakes of the past that I have explained here, it makes us think about what was the press doing?  To make Puerto Rico as strong as possible is what is at stake here.  Bravo!  Bravo!  Let’s open the dialogue now with Bravo!

Puerto Ricans can help by advocating properly for the poor and those who have not obtained the education needed to survive in this world.  This is a work that can be taken to the United States Congress which should have been better.  Candidates running for president of the United States will soon be reading this article and it will be shared with the office of Senator Bernie Sanders who is leading the fight against for-profit charter schools right now.  I hope that Senator Sanders unites with my friends from the N.A.A.C.P. in Washington, D.C. and that soon all of Puerto Rico and others can fight together to improve the lives of Puerto Ricans.  Remember the days of Hurricane Maria and things like Whitefish, Trump’s comments about Puerto Rico (and even today his lies about giving $91 billion to Puerto Rico), and the deaths that he is in denial about.  Where are the people in Congress speaking out about the egregious faults of that paper towel tosser who should be throwing in the towel of his administration?  Would someone just toss him out of the ring (wrestling) lucha libre style?  A “just society” takes much more than entrepreneurship.  All people deserve a living wage!

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