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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Commissioner versus United States President

    Commissioner versus United States President
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Education Bilingual Project is given autonomy

    Education Bilingual Project is given autonomy
  • 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.