Special education staff in Puerto Rico protested in the capital San Juan on Monday against the failure to pay them for months. Even though Puerto Rico is an 'unincorporated territory' of the United States, where children with special needs have a right to education, teachers, therapists and psychologists there have been providing a service unpaid and are now unable to continue.

This assault on special education is just the latest attack on public education in the country. Puerto Rico has been coerced into mass school closures by international creditors, betting on its sovereign debt as we . As well as closing almost 600 schools, the government also plans to bring in US style charter schools, something which the teachers union, FMPR, had campaigned successfully against. Other 'reform' measures include the introduction of performance related tenure, meaning teacher evaluations would be linked to standardised tests and teachers would be liable to the sack if such dubious measures are not 'good enough

Meanwhile US corporations continue to use the beleaguered territory as a tax haven, including the company founded by education 'reformer' Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corporation.Monday's protesters demanded that the government 'pay teachers before vulture capitalists.'

Teachers, students and communities are engaged in a determined and ongoing campaign for education. There have been school occupations and strikes. Last month communities protested against the destruction of education in the creative arts - students now have to choose between arts and physical education. Children led a lively protest playing musical instruments, singing and dancing.

To read more about the Puerto Rico campaign and the situation there check out this excellent website.