1974: Puerto Ricans Not Recieving Equal Education

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Image from Taller Puertorriqueño

In the early 1970s, the Pennsylvania Department of Education was under investigation for its institution of statewide school programs, which it called "Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth." Children that fell into the criteria for being "disruptive" were removed from their general classes and placed with other "disruptive" students. The US government received numerous complaints that these programs often discriminated against students who were learning English as a second language.

One of the results of this investigation was the passage of the federal Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. Under this act, states are not allowed to deny any student equal education based on their nationality, primarily those students learning English as a second language. Additionally, schools are required to take action to overcome barriers, language or otherwise, that may prevent students equal opportunity within their educational environment.

Written by McKenna Britton, a public historian living and learning in Philadelphia. 

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