Timeline of History of Bilingual Education in PR

By Rock13
  • End of Spanish-American War

    At the end of the Spanish-American War, United States took control of Puerto Rico from Spain. Dr. John Eaton, excommisssioner of the Departement of Education of US, states that the teachers should learn English and they would benefit when they get hired.
  • Department of Public Instruction (1900-1902)

    Public policy establishes that Spanish language would be kept, while English would be adopted in elementary schools. In high schools all subjects would be taught in English and Spanish would be an independent class.
  • English Only Proposal (1902-1904)

    The idea of establishing the English language as the official language in all puertorican schools emerges.
  • Spanish is supressed (1905-1913)

    Spanish language is supressed in Puerto Rico's school system and English is the language used for teaching.
  • Compulsory Spanish(1915)

    A law project was presented to compulsory teach Spanish in schools and it was also recommended to be used in court processes.
  • Half English and half Spanish (1916-1934)

    It was established that Spanish be used to teach in grades from first to fourth grade. English then would be used to teach from fifth to 12th grade. Spanish was to be used on half of the subject and English would be used on the other half.
  • US decreeds English as the offical language in PR (1917)

    This is the year in which the First World War begins. United States decreeds that English will be the official language in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans demand that students in Puerto Rico get educated about patriotism.
  • Emphasis in English usage (1921-1930)

    There were lots of language debates. The Commissioner of Instruction, Juan B. Huyke,gives great importance to English. It is required to teachers and students to speak English not only on classes, but also out of them.
  • English: A second language in Puerto Rico

    The Commissioner, Dr. Jose Padin tried to establish English language as a secondary language in terms of pedagogy. He tried to implement Spanish as the teaching vehicle to be used in schools. As a result, Spanish was used to teach some subjects and English was a special subject taught from first grade.
  • 1931

    On 1931 Spanish language was introduced in first grade for some courses and reading was recommended in Spanish.
  • Assimilation/anti-americanization (1936)

    Commissioner Jose M. Gallardo tried to impluse a bilingual education program. The US president wanted all education in PR to be in English. This was seen as an intention of assimilation.
  • Year1942

    On 1942 the language taught in elementary schools was Spanish up to 6th grade, and English language continued to be a treated as a separate subject.
  • Spanish in all levels (1949-1950)

    The Commissioner Dr. Mariano Villaronga decreeded Spanish language as the teaching language in all levels of public schools in Puerto Rico.
  • Title VII Law (1968)

    US President Johnson signed the Tittle VII Law or Bilingual Education Law on January 2, 1968.
  • Federal funds for "return" students (1970)

    The Departement of Education and many universities asked for federal funds to manage the education of students returning from the States. This is called a Bilingual Education.
  • Law of Certification on Bilingual Education (1972-1976)

    Under the administration of the Popular Democratic Party, the bilingual projects began in Padre Rufo and Papa Juan XXIII schools; in addition other projects began and were included as part of the Departement of Education Program .The law of Certification on Bilingual Education was signed.
  • Congress gives authorization (1978)

    The Congress gives authorization for those projects to be focused on Spanish language acquisition in order to be able to help students that return to Puerto Rico in their education process.
  • "Return" students (1979-1980)

    The school system identifies 84,834 students as "return" students. About 84% appereared to need special services.
  • Bilingual Cerfification for teachers (1980-1984)

    Governor of PR, Carlos Romero Barcelo signes the Bilingual Certification for teacher and this has not been put into practice until now.
  • 1989

    A new census demonstrates that 15,436 return students are in our educative system. This is utilized to require new funds. Four projects were approved for the Department of Eduacation of PR.
  • Spanish: Official language (1991)

    Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon declares the Spanish language as the official language of PR.
  • English and Spanish official languages (1992)

    This year census reflects a huge decrease on "return" students. Governor Pedro Rosello signed a lay that stands to this day, that declares both English and Spanish the official languages.
  • 1993

    Bilingual Education projects are autonomous again and there was a person assigned as a director for the Bilingual Education Program.
  • "Project to Create a Bilingual Citizen" (1997)

    "Project to Create a Bilingual Citizen" was an English emmersion program in shcools under the Statehood Party administration,
  • By 2020 all schools will be bilingual (2012)

    On July of 2012, thirty one schools began a new bilingual program under Governor Luis Fortuno, who aims that by 2020, all public schools become fully bilingual.