Puerto Rican communities have been a reality in many northeastern urban centers for over a century. Schools and classrooms have felt their presence through the Puerto Rican children attending school. The education of Puerto Ricans in U.S. schools has been documented for about seventy years, but in spite of numerous commissions, research reports, and other studies, this history is largely unknown to teachers and the general public. In addition to the research literature, a growing number of fictional accounts in English are providing another fertile avenue for understanding the challenges that Puerto Ricans have faced, and continue to face, in U.S. schools. In this article, Sonia Nieto combines the research on Puerto Rican students in U.S. schools with the power of the growing body of fiction written by Puerto Ricans. In this weaving of "fact" with "fiction," Nieto hopes to provide a more comprehensive and more human portrait of Puerto Rican students. Based on her reading of the literature in both educational research and fiction, Nieto suggests four interrelated and contrasting themes that have emerged from the long history of stories told about Puerto Ricans in U.S. schools: colonialism/resistance, cultural deficit/cultural acceptance, assimilation/identity, and marginalization/belonging. Nieto's analysis of these four themes then leads her to a discussion of the issue of care as the missing ingredient in the education of Puerto Ricans in the United States.

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