Puerto Rican rap star, Bad Bunny, has been a massive proponent for education reform in Puerto Rico. He partnered with Walmart and released a collection of libretas (notebooks) which come in a few different designs based on Bad Bunny’s art on his records. One of the notebooks has a picture of the internationally-acclaimed rapper posing on the cover.
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This past weekend, Instagram and Twitter users in Puerto Rico went into a frenzy posting photos of the notebooks at Walmart. There has been no official statement regarding the collaboration. The official Walmart Twitter account did respond to a user stating, Though no official statements or links can be found for the notebooks, the official Walmart Twitter account did reply to one user saying “Pretty impressive, right, Texidor?”
Earlier this year, Puerto Rico’s native son was criticized for his explicit lyrical content by a schoolteacher in a post that went viral on Facebook. She claimed his music was creating “a generation of idiots.” In response, the rapper, born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, penned a letter in Spanish to the teacher highlighting his experiences within Puerto Rico’s island’s lackluster educational system. Ocasio also suggested that the failures of the educational system on the island point to a greater social issue and not rap music. He detailed what improvements needed to be made to help students and teachers thrive in school.
According to The New York Times, only 10% of students in grades seven, eight and eleven mastered basic math skills on tests in 2018. Problems in Puerto Rico with education were exacerbated by Hurricane Maria. A National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report concluded that Puerto Rican students scored lower in mathematics than Native American students in the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Those schools were deemed the “worst schools in America.”
Puerto Rican eighth-graders were nearly seven grade levels behind students on the mainland.
With more prominent Puerto Ricans like Bad Bunny advocating for reforms in education, maybe the children of the island can finally get the education they deserve.