On July 31, we published a blog post and interview with Julia Keleher, former Secretary of Education in Puerto Rico and newly hired executive director at First State Educate. This blog post has since been removed from our website.
Many people have expressed strong feelings regarding this news, and we now understand why. We’ve heard from many Puerto Ricans about the changes that took place in their education system, and there’s been a lot of justified anger in the responses.
As an organization with a strong commitment to Equity in Education, the ACLU of Delaware has always advocated for a better-funded public education system that respects the rights of all students and fosters an environment in which they can succeed. We have not at any point been involved with efforts to privatize Delaware’s education system, and that is not going to change.
There are some things we’d like to clarify regarding Julia Keleher’s new role:
- Julia Keleher is now the executive director of First State Educate, an independent non-profit organization based here in Delaware.
- Julia volunteered with the ACLU of Delaware as a Smart Justice Ambassador, but she does not work for us as an employee.
- Smart Justice Ambassadors are Delawareans who have lived experience in the legal system and advocate for reforms to it.
- Our original blog post highlighted Julia’s new position, however, we do not have any involvement in the hiring or employment processes for First State Educate.
We published her interview to highlight a Smart Justice Ambassador who was being granted a second chance, as we have highlighted other ambassadors in the past. However, we apologize for not recognizing how that publication failed to acknowledge the harm felt by many, especially those in Puerto Rico. To reiterate, we are firm advocates for public education and apologize to anyone who felt that we were undermining that value.
We continue to advocate for a strong, well-funded public education system in Delaware that prioritizes the needs of all students—especially those who are marginalized—as well as the needs of the teachers charged with educating our public school students. Thank you for sharing your voices, and thank you for holding us accountable.