English to Replace Spanish in Puerto Rican Schools

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English is set to replace Spanish as the language used to teach in Puerto Rico’s public schools, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune. The plan will start under a 10-year umbrella this summer, said Education Secretary Edward Moreno Alonso.

In his most recent address to the legislature on April 24, Fortuño, who is up for re-election in November, said his administration would take steps to more firmly establish English-language instruction in the island’s public school system.

“Starting next fiscal year, we’ll begin introducing the comprehensive Bilingual Generation program with a very clear goal: to ensure that in a period of 10 years each and every child who graduates from high school in Puerto Rico is perfectly bilingual, with full command of both Spanish and English,” Fortuño said.

Students ranging from age five to nine, will have all of their subjects taught in English, with the exception of Spanish and History. The plan will start in 31 schools, and in 35 others on a transitional basis. (The 35 schools will eventually follow the program as well, as their teachers’ ability allows.)

The goal is for the program to be extended to all 860 schools in Puerto Rico’s public school system by 2022. The reason for the English conversion? Increased demands from parents.

The action has been met with a seemingly positive response: the schools that are implementing the changes have extensive waiting lists. English had been the language of instruction in Puerto Rican high schools between 1900 and 1948. Many in favor cite the fact that many U.S. commonwealth jobs require a bilingual applicant.

What do you think? Should Spanish be replaced by English in Puerto Rican Schools? Could this be hurtful to young students and the Spanish language?

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