[lg policy] An exploration of the effects of language policy in education in a contemporary Puerto Rican society

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sun Jul 31 17:24:52 EDT 2016

An exploration of the effects of language policy in education in a
contemporary Puerto Rican society
*Mirta Maldonado-Valentín*

During the Spanish regimen, Puerto Rican education was limited and
restricted to Spanish language as the medium of instruction. It was not
until the U.S. colonization of the island that public education was
introduced. As a result, English replaced Spanish as medium of instruction
in the new educational system. Immediately after, Puerto Rican elitists and
politicians ignited a political movement against using English (Algren de
Gutierrez, 1987), resulting in a language battle fought through a series of
educational language policies. In the end, policymakers enacted a language
policy that reinstated Spanish as the official language of Puerto Rico’s
education system. Consequently, policymakers also strengthened the use of
Spanish instruction in Puerto Rican schools and universities while English
was taught as a subject through all grade levels (Canino, 1981). Thus, this
policy secured the island’s status as a “monolingual Spanish speaking
society”. In addition, the enactment of this language policy also
legitimized English as a *de jure* second official language, with the
possibility of recognizing Puerto Rico as a “bilingual speaking society”.
This paper discusses the impact of these language policies on the use of
Spanish and English in education and presents a case study of Guaynabo City
to exemplify the effects of these language policies on a contemporary
Puerto Rican society and its acceptance of or resistance to becoming an
English-speaking society.

language ideologies; language education policy; English as a second
language; Spanish-English medium of instruction

Full Text: PDF <http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/2453/1807>

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2453

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