BASIC EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE THE PUBLIC POLICY CHANGES
 
     The Educational Reform that is being implemented in Puerto Rico is ruled by legislation. Some of the laws which orient the reform are: Law 68 (1990) as amended, Law 18 (1993) as amended and Educate America Act: Goals 2000 (1993). There are other documents as by laws and circular letters: These mainly states the following: 
 
  1. The student is the center of the Puerto Rico Public Education System geared at the developing a rational, autonomous and moral human being committed and engaged with social service. To obtain this human development it is necessary to encourage students to develop:
    1. a. a sense of self-esteem and self-knowledge concept 
      b. the capacity to establish and to enjoy significant interpersonal 
          relationships at their homes, the school and the community as well 
              c. the capacity to perceive and react to their own and other feelings. 
              d. the capacity to compete in the global economy 
  2. The teacher is the principal agent of change and the determinant factor in the formation and development of the students, therefore, he/she must have high levels of rationality, autonomy and moral life. Also, the teacher should have freedom to select the best and adequate methods for whatever is going to be taught according or within the parameters established by the standards of academic excellence. 
  3. The Department of Education has the responsibility to provide teachers alternative activities for their professional development in order to update their knowledge and teaching skills, This can be done with the collaboration with different universities which have programs for teacher preparation, maintaining always a constant and constructive communication to facilitate the teachers' professional development. 
  4. The curriculum will propitiate the development of an integral and integrated human being, sensible and capable to communicate in Spanish and English with correction and fluency. 
  5. The curriculum should be flexible and will provide diversity or educational experiences to fulfill the students' interests, capacities, character, and individual needs. This principle also applies to the texts and other teaching materials. 
  6. The curriculum is framed by the cognitive-humanistic theory of learning; in other  words, directed to the child and youth that thinks and feels. 
  7. The Educational Reform based on the Community based Schools should guide the academic autonomy by the standards for academic excellence and the integration of the core components of the curriculum: knowledge, values, skills, prevention, study and work, and cultural diversity. 
  8. The assessment of the educational experience is based on a formative and summative evaluation with the purpose of monitoring the students' progress in the development of their communication skills in Spanish and English, as well as their academic performance in the other disciplines. 
  9. The school administration should be flexible enough to facilitate the mobility of students from one level to another when they master the required skills for the level in which they are studying. 
  10. The school director has the professional, moral and social responsibility to give support to the academic component at all levels. Therefore, he/she should be an agent of change providing time, motivating and facilitating the development of creativity among teachers and students. 
  11. The English Program will be flexible and diverse in order to enable students within a bilingual approach to develop communication skills, creative writing skills, and reading skills. 
  12. English teaching will be developed within a bicultural context using as the starting point the Puerto Rican culture. Then the american culture or other English speaking countries, in order to help students understand the similarities and differences between cultures. 
  13. This process of teaching - teaming will promote and develop among the students respect to their own language and culture, as well as to the North American and other cultures and languages. Also. they will learn, and understand that no culture is inferior or superior, but, that they are similar within the same human parameter that all share.  This feeling and understanding will be applied to other cultures. 
  14. This same instruction will also promote among students the understanding that by integrating in other cultures, one grows more humanistic and is able to share traits and customs. 
  15. The vision and knowledge of other cultures equip the students to know much better their own culture. 
  16. There is no possibility to acquire cognitive learning if students are in an affective   disorder. The school has the responsibility to dedicate their better talent and their best economic resources to establish effective learning programs; that is, to implement the humanistic learning theory. 
  17. The instruction of language should use resources from the fine arts by  integrating into the teaching, singing, dancing, painting, plastic arts, theatre, literary creation and crafts.  The teaching of arts should take place at all levels of our educational system. This applies also to the artistic expressions of the Anglo-Saxon culture: singing, dancing and others. 
  18. The educational system will develop among students, through individual and group activities to develop their sense of responsibility and commitment with the social welfare. 
  19. By integrating the humanistic learning theory the teachers will propitiate the development of the students as healthy, positive and productive human beings.
  20. The school will organize activities to serve the community where the students will be integrated with the purpose of encouraging them to be responsible and to look for solutions of community problems.
 
 
 
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