Press Releases

Murphy Introduces Bill to Increase English-Language Funding for Florida Students

Congresswoman discusses her new legislation at English-language learning center in Orlando

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Orlando, August 3, 2017 | comments

Congresswoman Murphy speaks to English-language learners during a tour
of the Adult Literacy League in Orlando yesterday 

U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., has introduced bipartisan legislation designed to ensure that Florida receives its fair share of federal funding for English-language learning programs. Her bill, the Ensuring Linguistic Excellence and Vocational Aptitude by Teaching English (ELEVATE) Act, would increase the resources that Florida has available to provide English-language instruction to students and their families. Murphy discussed the bill while visiting an English-language class at the Adult Literacy League in Orlando yesterday.

Murphy introduced the ELEVATE Act after speaking to constituents and reading local press reports about how public schools in central Florida are struggling to provide instruction to the state’s English-language learner student population.

“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to give Florida its fair share of federal resources to improve English-language instruction. 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,” said Murphy during her tour of the Adult Literacy League.

Murphy’s bill would increase the amount of funding that Florida—and certain other states—receive each year under the U.S. Department of Education’s English Language Acquisition grant program, by fixing 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. Because of the way the current law is written, students who have moved from Puerto Rico to the states are not sufficiently counted, depriving Florida of much-needed funding. 

Florida receives about $40 to $44 million a year under the federal program. The state’s allocation has remained stagnant over the last decade, even though the Puerto Rican population in Florida has increased by over 120 percent since 2000. Murphy’s bill would fix the flaw in the formula so that Florida’s funding allocation better corresponds with the growing number of English learners in the state.

Original cosponsors of the ELEVATE Act include Murphy’s Democratic and Republican colleagues from the Florida delegation, Reps. Darren Soto, Carlos Curbelo, Charlie Crist, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, and Alcee Hastings.

For a fact sheet on the ELEVATE Act, click here.

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U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she serves on the House Armed Services Committee and Small Business Committee. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. Previously, Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor who also served as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Murphy lives in Winter Park with her husband and two children.
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