Insisting it will help Florida and its growing Puerto Rican population, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., rounded up several members of the Florida delegation to support her proposal to change how the federal government funds English language learning programs.
At the end of July, Murphy unveiled the “Ensuring Linguistic Excellence and Vocational Aptitude by Teaching English (ELEVATE) Act” which would “amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide that children that have relocated from Puerto Rico to the States are fully considered for purposes of State allotments under the English language acquisition grants.”
Last week, Murphy toured a facility in Central Florida where English is taught and she showcased her proposal.
“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to give Florida its fair share of federal resources to improve English-language instruction,” Murphy said before talking about her own personal experiences. “I grew up in an immigrant household where my parents spoke only Vietnamese. I learned English in school, and I know how challenging it can be, but also how important it is. Becoming proficient in English opens many economic and social doors that would otherwise remain sealed shut. I want every student learning English in central Florida and around the country to have the same opportunities I did.”
Murphy’s office insisted the legislation will repair a “flaw in the current funding formula that does not adequately account for the number of school-aged children and youth that have relocated to Florida and other states from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.” With the Puerto Rican population continuing to grow in the Sunshine State, Murphy’s office maintained that Florida needs more than the $40-$44 million it currently annually receives from the federal government for English-language training.
Six members of the Florida delegation are co-sponsoring Murphy’s proposal. U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., is backing the bill. On the Democratic side, Murphy has the support of U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Alcee Hastings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson. Murphy’s bill was sent to the U.S. Education and the Workforce Committee at the end of July.
Murphy, a top target for Republicans next year, called for Puerto Rican statehood earlier this year.