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12 outstanding facts

Learn more about public education in Puerto Rico


The Puerto Rico Department of Education is the government agency responsible for the academic education of a large portion of Puerto Rico’s population. At the administrative level, the PRDE operates simultaneously as both State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agency (LEA) and operates with federal and state funds. For years, it has been the largest government agency in the archipelago of Puerto Rico with nearly 45 thousand employees.

Understanding the complexities of Puerto Rico’s education system and the educational challenges faced by the Island’s students is critical to implement changes and advancing efforts for the benefit of the general society. It is possible to address the most pressing needs of K-3 students and provide them with the tools they require for their academic and personal development, as well as to overcome the educational lag of students in higher grade levels if we identify the obstacles that hinder their access to opportunities to lead a successful life in the future.

The Flamboyán Foundation has worked for over a decade to improve the quality of life of Puerto Rican children through education. We have and continue to support families, teachers, and the PRDE in their task of teaching and educating the students of the public education system. Because we understand that this is a monumental task that requires the support of all sectors, we have designed this webpage to keep you informed, supported with data and references, of the state of education in Puerto Rico.

Education in Puerto Rico

The state of affairs in numbers

In the group of poor families with children, the median income is $9,400.

The percentage for first-grade was 11%, and 6% for second grade.

For 2019-2020, the number of students with special needs was 103,318.

The PRDE’s Social Work Program identified that approximately 68,000 students are still dealing with the socio-emotional effects of the pandemic and need support to deal with emotional, mental, or behavioral issues.

Although Puerto Rico is geographically smaller, in 2021, it ranked among the 10 largest school districts, per pupil, of the over 13 thousand districts in the United States.

From 2007 to 2018, there was an important reduction in enrollment and schools operating.

Meanwhile, the school dropout number for the first semester of 2022-2023 was 9,288 in all levels.

This represents 47% of the 9,583 students that did not advance to the next grade.

This data was obtained from the assessment test NAEP administered to fourth and eighth-grade students in Puerto Rico and the United States.

Whereas in the United States, according to data for the same school year, the average per-student spending amounted to $12,620.

Even using the average pay, the salary for teachers in Puerto Rico is lower than any other jurisdiction in the United States.

The category that obtained the highest percentage was that of a person of two races with 49%.