Homeschool Freedom Threated in Puerto Rico
On October 9, 2002, Representative Garcia Caban referred a bill, PC
3048, to the Education and Culture Committee. It contains the same
language as the current bill. The committee convened hearings on
November 6, 2002 which continued over the next several days. Numerous
homeschool witnesses testified against the bill. Students and parents
protested outside the capitol before and during the hearing. The
protest was very effective as many showed up with signs. An organized
protest demonstrated the will of homeschoolers in Puerto Rico to
remain free from government oversight.
Unexpected support came from Education Secretary Ceasar Rey, who
submitted a written statement in opposition to the bill. Pablo
Rivera, Assistant Secretary in Charge of Academic Affairs, spoke on
behalf of Secretary Rey indicating that homeschooling by definition is
a non-governmental entity and as such is recognized as an alternative
to public education.
Rey also said, in a statement read by Pablo Rivera before the
committee, that the bill did not establish clear procedures in terms
of student evaluation and grades. The bottom line, according to Rey's
testimony, was that the measure was not viable and he called for more
analysis and study.
The bill died in committee as it virtually had no support.
Michael Smith, President of HSLDA, flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico and
testified against the bill.