In 2012, Puerto Rico held the fourth plebiscite since 1967 on its status relative to the United States. Though the plebiscite resulted in the first majority vote for US statehood, it took place alongside an election in which the pro-statehood governor, Luis Fortuño, lost to the candidate of the party that favored continuing the current status as an unincorporated territory of the United States. A point of contention amid the plebiscite was a proposal by Fortuño to change the island's educational system from a language instruction model in which Spanish is primary and English secondary to bilingual education, retraining teachers and introducing bilingual instruction across the curriculum in order to produce what Fortuño called “Generación Bilingüe.” The debate over language and education cuts to the heart of negotiations of Puerto Rican identity, culture, economic opportunity, and political status.

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