The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico recognizes the pressing need to encourage the support for successful alternative education models in order to address, in an integrated manner, the unique cognitive, academic, biopsychosocial, vocational, and entrepreneurial needs of the population of school dropouts and at-risk children or youths.
The goal of alternative education is to develop enterprising and productive citizens with high academic, community, and leadership competencies who are committed to their personal development as well as that of their family and community setting.
Based on the foregoing, this Legislative Assembly hereby resolves and declares that alternative education is governed in Puerto Rico by the following principles:
(a) All children and youths have the right to quality education.
(b) All school dropouts and at-risk children and youths represent a population with full potential for human development thus requiring an education adjusted to their socioeconomic and educational needs and to their unique interests.
(c) Taking into consideration the high incidence of school dropouts and at-risk children and youths, alternative education shall be considered a curriculum within the educational system in Puerto Rico.
(d) Alternative education for school dropouts and at-risk children and youths should be characterized by its focus on them, the promotion of opportunities for participation, academic preparation, physical and sports training, trust in their capabilities, discipline, respect for human dignity, the opportunity to explore and develop their talents, including the means of artistic expression, occupational education, and technological training that provides them with self-management tools.
(e) The State recognizes the benefits of partnerships with the municipalities of Puerto Rico and municipal consortiums, nonprofit government and nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit higher education institutions, both from the government and the nongovernment sectors, and their contributions to improve the quality of life of Puerto Rico. The Government and the entities and institutions that have purposes similar to the purposes of this chapter should establish a partnership so they can work in conjunction to expedite the resources and promote the conditions that shall guarantee the continuity of services.
(f) School dropouts and at-risk children and youths need varied education models of proven effectiveness in satisfying the needs and unique characteristics of this population.
(g) In order to effectively address the unique needs and interests of their students, alternative education entities shall have autonomy and flexibility relating to its administration, operations, and curriculum, in accordance with its objectives and education model, but shall be required to comply with the parameters and meet the requirements established both in this chapter and the regulations adopted thereunder. They shall also meet all the licensing requirements set forth by the Puerto Rico Education Council, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 1 of July 26, 2010, as amended.
Likewise, and considering that the traditional academic curriculums are not governed by inflexible parameters that prevent what should be their natural evolution, our aim is that, when the time comes, the alternative model may be transformed so as to embrace, support, and integrally fulfill the unique interests and needs of gifted students in Puerto Rico. This could be achieved by creating education centers specifically geared to this population, or by entering into collaboration agreements between existing institutions and other entities with the expertise and proven experience working with this population. We believe that this shall be the next logical step to be taken once this education model has proven its reliability.