The American military governors at once began reforming education, inaugurating a new system as nearly as possible like the free school system of the United States. In Jan. 1899, Gen. Henry called Dr. John Eaton to assume charge of education. Many changes were made : 16 English supervisors were appointed, who were also inspectors and teachers of English ; they paid the teachers, accounted for the text-books and supplies and secured suitable buildings for the schools. In 1899 an entire new code of school laws was promulgated. Dr. Eaton was succeeded by Mr. Clark, under whose direction the new code was put in successful operation. Mr. Clark was succeeded by Dr. Groff who served until the civil Government was established, as commissioner of educa tion. Thus an efficient free school system was established with schools in many localities. The first civil governor, Charles W. Allen, appointed Dr. Martin G. Brumbaugh as the first commis sioner under the new law, who, with his successor Dr. Samuel McCune Lindsay, formulated and instituted the present system. In 1927 there were employed in the public schools 4,483 teachers, of whom 3,152 were women ; 178 were from the United States and 4,305 from Porto Rico. The total enrolment was 213,321, 122,354 in the rural schools and 89,399 in the urban. The legal school year lasts ten months, and attendance is compulsory. There are 2,184 school buildings, with 4,454 school rooms. All new construc
tion is of reinforced concrete, and range, from one-room buildings in the remote country districts to consolidated rural school build ings with io or 12 rooms, and to beautiful and extensive grade and high-schools in cities and towns. Eighty-six new schools were com pleted in 1927 for $506,790. The expenditure for current expenses for the year was $5,928,000. The total cost per pupil enrolled was $21.86. Agriculture was taught in 2,28o school class-rooms. There are 20 high and 32 continuation schools. Courses in agriculture, health advancement, domestic economy, needlework, dressmaking and manual training are given.
The percentage of illiteracy has been reduced to below 40%. As a result of special work 2,484 adults were taught to read and write during the last school year. There are night schools in both urban and rural zones, enrolling during the year 4,269 pupils, mostly adults. There were 38 private accredited schools, with 6,489 stu dents in 1927. All these accept the requirements and standards of the public schools and are inspected regularly by the supervisors. University Training.—The University of Porto Rico was established by the Government in 1903. It has been entirely reorganized in recent years and is now being conducted like the State universities of the United States. Its annual students num ber 2,85o. The expenditure for 1927 was $585,945. New buildings are being constructed to meet the increased numbers of students applying. A feature is being developed of a Pan-American nature, by which students from the United States who desire special training for service in Central and South American countries, and those who from those countries desire special preparation for service in the United States and other English-speaking countries, may receive it here where work in the schools and colleges is conducted in both Spanish and English. A school of tropical medicine has been established under the joint auspices of Columbia university and the Porto Rican university. There is also a college of business administration, co-operating with Boston university. Customs and Habits.—The sugar factories and the larger tobacco and coffee plantations employ large numbers of men and women. There has been a great change in the manners and customs of the people since the American occupancy. The bankers, merchants and other business men have connections in the States and have largely developed American methods and customs. The lawyers, physicians and chief Government officials have for the most part received their professional training in the United States. The English language is taught in the schools and is used largely in business and trade. However, the language of the people is still Spanish and most of the periodicals are printed in Spanish.