ALTHOUGH there have been language policy changes in the government
of Puerto Rico after 1947, these have not affected the decision of keeping
Spanish as the medium of instruction in all grades in Puerto Rico. Between
1898 and 1947 there were six major changes regarding the decision to use
English as a school subject or as a medium of instruction.
The first change was introduced by Dr. Martin Brumbaugh who became Commissioner of Education in 1900. The Brumbaugh policy provided for the teaching of English and Spanish as subjects beginning in the first grade. Spanish was to be used also as the medium of instruction in the elementary level (grades 1-8) while English was to be used as the medium of instruction in the secondary level (grades 9-12). Spanish was to he taught as a school subject in the secondary level.
Commissioner Roland Faulkner introduced the second major change in 1905. Faulkner's policy aimed at the use of English as the medium of instruction in all the grades of the public school system.
Commissioner Paul Miller introduced the third major change in 1916. Spanish became the language of instruc-tion in grades 1-4, and both languages, English and Span-ish, became the languages of instruction in the remaining grades (5-12). The study of English and Spanish as school subjects continued in both the elementary and the high school.
Dr. José Padin introduced the fourth major change in 1934. He made Spanish the language of instruction in the elementary level (grades 1-8) and doubled the time devoted to English as a subject from forty-five minutes in the sev-enth and eighth grades.
Dr. José Gallardo introduced the fifth major change in 1937. It involved a series of policies which aimed to use both English and Spanish as media of instruction. Some subjects were taught in Spanish and others were taught in English. However, this policy did not affect the elementary school where Spanish was the only medium of instruction.
Commissioner Mariono Villaronga introduced the sixth major change in 1947. He made Spanish the medium of instruction at all levels of the public school system. In 1948 he initiated the English program which is in effect today. In other words, the current policy for the teaching of English in the public school system has existed since 1947.
According to the current Organic Law regarding the Educational Reform (Law 68 of August 1990), this policy continues in existence. Spanish is the vernacular and me-dium of instruction in all grades. and English is taught as a school subject in all grades beginning in the first grade.