In a bid to make Puerto Rico a full-fledged bilingual society, Gov. Luis Fortuño has rolled out a controversial proposal that would make English the primary language of instruction in all courses taught to the U.S. island commonwealth’s 473,000 public school students. Spanish grammar and literature classes would still be offered under the Republican governor’s 10-year plan.
According to the Associated Press, all of Puerto Rico’s public schools are required to teach the English language from kindergarten through high school, but just a dozen of its public schools offer an all-English curriculum as envisioned by Gov. Fortuño. U.S. Census data show that nearly all Puerto Ricans report speaking Spanish at home, and that well more than half do not consider themselves to be fluent in English.
Some critics of the governor’s proposal believe he’s pushing to make English the primary language used in public schools for political reasons chiefly, his aim to make Puerto Rico the 51st state.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2012 edition of Education Week as Puerto Rico Governor Proposes English Plan