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Rubio, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help School Districts Accommodate Students From Puerto Rico

Jul 25, 2023 | Press Releases

The English Language Acquisition grant program helps to ensure that English learners and immigrant students attain English proficiency and academic success. Currently, the U.S. Department of Education uses a flawed funding formula that does not accurately measure the number of K-12 students who relocate to the mainland from Puerto Rico. This flawed formula results in a misallocation of funds. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues reintroduced the Ensuring Linguistic Excellence and Vocational Aptitude by Teaching English (ELEVATE) Act to ensure states receive the federal funding necessary to provide high-quality instruction to students learning English. This bill would allow students from Puerto Rico to be fully counted in the annual grant allocation received by states under the English Language Acquisition grant program. Correcting this flaw will be especially helpful to states like Florida, which has a thriving population from the island.  

  • “Students who come to the mainland from Puerto Rico deserve high-quality instruction for learning English. I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill, which will allow Puerto Rican students who move to the mainland to be fully counted in the annual grant allocation that states receive under the program and increase funding for Florida.”  – Senator Rubio

U.S. Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are original cosponsors of the legislation. 

  • “I will always do everything I can to support Puerto Rican families and make sure all students have the resources they need. This is an initiative I began when I was governor, and I’m proud to support the ELEVATE Act which ensures our schools have the federal resources needed to help English-learning students succeed and live their dreams.” – Senator Scott 
  • “This common-sense bill would fix the flaw that vastly undercounts newly arriving Puerto Rican students and cuts off vital language-learning resources. School language programs for K-12 students learning English are indispensable, setting them up for life-long success and opening new opportunities. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill to get schools in Connecticut and across the country the funding they need to support kids learning English.” – Senator Blumenthal 
  • “The U.S. Department of Education’s current funding formula doesn’t capture families who have just arrived from Puerto Rico, and that means states like Connecticut don’t get the federal resources they need to support students learning English. This bipartisan legislation is an easy fix to ensure that English Language Learning programs are fully funded and every student has access to the high quality education they deserve.” – Senator Murphy

Between 2010 and 2017, Florida’s Puerto Rican population rose from 864,000 to 1.1 million—a 27 percent increase. 

Want more information? 

April 2021: English/ Español: Rubio and Colleagues Reintroduce Bill to Help School Districts Accommodate Students from Puerto Rico