On September 20, 1972 the Puerto Rican and Latino community of New York City filed a lawsuit against the New York Board of Education because of their dissatisfaction with the school systems inability to educate their children. In 1974, the Hispanic and Puerto Rican population made up only 5% of the total population of the school district, which is currently at about 12.5% (Reyes). In response to the outrage expressed by the Hispanic community, a local nonprofit organization was established called the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) who represented the community during the trial. 

After two years of court battles, Aspira of New York City and the New York Board of Education settled on a consent decree signed in August 29, 1974, under Judge Irving Frankel. The consent decree required that the Board of Education had to establish a new program to improve the education of all Spanish speaking students whose “difficulties with English impedes learning.” To do so they had to establish transitional bilingual education (TBE) in all core curriculum as well as Spanish and ESL instruction.

The case between the Hispanic community of New York City occurred during the civil rights movement and a War on Poverty. Although Aspira achieved their goal for bilingual education in the New York public school system, TBE is now reflected on as being a “deficit-based, remedial type of bilingual education” and is viewed as an “assimilationist model of education” (Reyes). Supporters of bilingual education view it as a means to educating ELL children using methods that respect both linguistic and cultural diversity. However, people opposing bilingual education view it as “segregationist and undermined social integration and the ‘Americanization’ process” (Reyes). Although still a highly debated issue for public schools today, the Aspira Consent Decree was a major stepping stone for educators, parents, and children  alike.

Reyes, Luis. "The Aspira Consent Decree: A Thirtieth-Anniversary Retrospective of Bilingual Education in New York City ." Harvard Educational Review. 76.3 (2006): 369-402. Print.

Make a Free Website with Yola.