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Puerto Rico Language Policy Timeline

  • Spanish American War

    Spanish American War
    Spain is defeated by the United States of America. Puerto Rico becomes a territory (possession) of the American Nation.
  • 1898-1900 Period

    1898-1900 Period
    John Eaton, Commissioner of Education, and assistant Victor Clark established that educators had to learn English in order to have a better chance of being hired.
  • Official Language Act

    Official Language Act
    English & Spanish became official languages.
  • 1900-1902 Period

    1900-1902 Period
    • The Department of Public Instruction is created.
    • Commissioner Brumbagh, assigned by President McKinley, established that at elementary level Spanish would be the method of instruction & English would be taught as a special subject. The opposite would apply to secondary level.
  • Revocation of Official Language Act

    Revocation of Official Language Act
    President Theodore Roosevelt pushed the Commissioner of Education to make English the method of instruction for all grades.
  • 1902-04 Period

    1902-04 Period
    • Teachers are sent to study to the U.S.A.
    • There is legislation for the Insular School to become the UPR.
    • Establishment of an annual English test for Puerto Rican teachers and the classification system to select them (favoring those who acquired English).
  • Nationalism versus Imperialism

    Nationalism versus Imperialism
    Education commissioner Grant Dexter, informs 35,000 students will benefit from English speakers teachers that had passed the exam. A separatist movement was born since some teachers considered English acquisition as an imposition as well as a threat to the island's identity.
  • 1905-13: Spanish Language Suppression

    1905-13: Spanish Language Suppression
    • English became the method of instruction in all grades.
    • Creation of a law that forced Island's teachers to take an annual English exam. Those who failed were suspended until passing it. After two years, teaching license was revoked.
    • American professors taught English to teachers in Puerto Rico, who would earn a $10 monthly salary raise if once English qualified.
    • Techaer must demonstrated knowledge in Math, Geography, History, and English in a special test.
  • More Language Shifting...

    More Language Shifting...
    All classes were taught in English, but the Spanish subject. Hygiene, Health, & Reading were offered in Spanish as well.
  • Additional Carts on the Language Policy Rollercoaster

    Additional Carts on the Language Policy Rollercoaster
    The Law established Spanish instruction a must as well as its use for judicial processes.
  • WWI & U.S. Citizenship Granted to Puerto Rico

    WWI & U.S. Citizenship Granted to Puerto Rico
    • Jose De Diego defense of Spanish instruction opposed Commissioner Miller's, who defended English instruction.
    • Incidents and frictions among population caused Miller to go back to the U.S.
  • 1920-30 Period & Recession in the Island

    1920-30 Period & Recession in the Island
    DPI Commissioner, Juan B. Huyke ordered: English only even outside class, including all publications.
  • 1916-34 Period

    1916-34 Period
    Spanish instruction: K - 4th.
    English used for half of the subjects' instruction from 5th. - 12th.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt

    President Franklin Roosevelt
    Governor Blanton Swinthrop made English the method of instruction in all grades.
  • 1930-36 Period

    1930-36 Period
    • Jose Padin became the Education Commisioner and implemented Sppanish instruction from 1st. - 8th. grade. English is taught as a second language through special programs, becoming a subject starting at 1st. grade.
    • Bilingual education was recommended with constant supervision.
  • Commissioner versus United States President

    Commissioner versus United States President
    • Commissioner Jose M. Gallardo wanted but couldn't create a bilingual program due to protestors in the Island. *U.S.A. President wanted English instruction only.
  • English Instruction only at secondary level.

    English Instruction only at secondary level.
    Only at secondary level
  • Spanish instruction, English a subject up to 6th. Grade

    Spanish instruction, English a subject up to 6th. Grade
  • Spanish instruction: all grades, English: a period/day as 2nd. language

    Spanish instruction: all grades, English: a period/day as 2nd. language
  • First Elected Governor of Puerto Rico: Luis Munoz Marin

    First Elected Governor of Puerto Rico: Luis Munoz Marin
    His Commissioner, Mariano Villaronga, ordered Spanish instruction at all levels.
  • Bilingual Education Act (BEA)

    Bilingual Education Act (BEA)
    Signed under President Johnson, Title VII was an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) recognizing the needs of Limited English Speaking Ability (LESA) people.
  • Islanders Rejection to Bilingual Education considering it an Imperialism Imposition

    Islanders Rejection to Bilingual Education considering it an Imperialism Imposition
    • American funds are designated to P.R. to help meet the needs os students that migrated back and forth from the Island to the U.S. and viceversa since they showed no Spanish domain.
    • Bilingual education: teaching Spanish and maintaining English
    • Legislation was created towards: " The Elementary & Secondary Education Act", "The Vocational Education Act", "The Adult Education Act ", The Higher Education Act ".
  • Lau vs. Nichols

    Lau vs. Nichols
    Case that emphasized the importance of bilingual education in the United States impacted Puerto Rico, being an American territory.
  • 1972-76 Period Bilingual Programs Flourished

    1972-76 Period Bilingual Programs Flourished
    • Bilingual projects are implemented in Padre Rufo & Papa Juan XXIII schools.
    • The following were established: "The Bilingual Cultural Project" , " Pre-School Projects", " Bilingual & Cultural Transition Project", " The Bilingual Program", " Plan Estatal" which was aiming to meet the needs of 59,810 migrants.
    • The Bilingual Education Programs become part of the Department of Public Instruction.
    • Law of Bilingual Education Certification is signed.
  • U.S. authorizes Bilingual Education projects focusing Spanish learning of migrants

    U.S. authorizes Bilingual Education projects focusing Spanish learning of migrants
  • 1970-80: Neoricans in the house...

    1970-80: Neoricans in the house...
    The Department of Public Instruction trained Puerto Ricans who lived in New York to teach so they could teach English in the Island.
  • Statistics

    Statistics
    Out of the 716,138 student population, 84,834 were migrants of which 58,810 had special needs to be met.
  • The Bilingual Education Project is transferred to the English Deparment

    The Bilingual Education Project is transferred to the English Deparment
  • Spanish only legislation (Law #4)

    Spanish only legislation (Law #4)
  • 1991 law was revoked and 1902's reinstated

    1991 law was revoked and 1902's reinstated
    English as well as Spanish could be used, including business deals
  • 1988-92: Bilingual Education Projects Branching Out

    1988-92: Bilingual Education Projects Branching Out
    • Bilingual education projects were granted to " Universidad Metropolitana" , "Universidad Sagrado Corazon", " UniversidadTurabo", through the Deparment of Education.
  • Education Bilingual Project is given autonomy

    Education Bilingual Project is given autonomy
    • Law #1 of 1991 is revoked: English & Spanish become the official languages
    • The first director of the Bilingual Education Program is appointed.
  • Only two years left before accountability begins...

    Only two years left before accountability begins...
    Bilingual Projects (BEC21 for elementary level & ES21 for Secondary one) are being implemented throughout the school system in order to meet everything contained in the federal law.