This article traces the ways in which New York City schools have responded to the multilingualism of its children in the last forty years. I review here the past to construct the futurethe future of the past. I argue that in the predominantly Puerto Rican community of the 1960s and 1970s a simple approach toward languages and bilingualism in education was an appropriate response to meet the needs of language minority children. Thus, subtractive and additive bilingual education programs might have been sufficient. However, in the 21st century, with the demographic shifts and the technological advances of a globalized world, other understandings of bilingualism in education need to be constructed. I advance here another two models of bilingualismrecursive and dynamicthat are more appropriate for the 21st century and discuss how this might be accomplished in schools in New York City.
State and Local Policy