With the passage of the Education Reform Act in March 2018, Puerto Rico joined states across the mainland in authorizing charter schools as privately managed government-funded alternatives to conventional public schools. In this article, Samuel E. Abrams describes the origins of charter schools, their formal introduction with legislation in Minnesota in 1991 and evolution since, and their probable impact in Puerto Rico. While conceding that charter schools may diversify the educational landscape and serve many students well, Abrams cautions that charter schools can generate untoward division, as they tend to enroll fewer children with academic and behavioral challenges and more children of engaged parents. The exit of such parents from conventional public schools, he writes, compounds this division, as they take with them their voice to advocate for better schooling for all children. Abrams contends this problem of exit stands to have an especially strong effect in Puerto Rico given that 25% of K-12 students on the island already attend private schools compared to 10% across the mainland.
Citation: Samuel E. Abrams, Exit, Voice, and Charter Schools, 88 Rev. Jur. UPR 894 (2019).