WASHINGTON--U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) reintroduced the bipartisan 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. The 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.

The English Language Acquisition 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. Correcting this flaw will be especially helpful to states like Connecticut, which has a thriving population from the island.

“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,” said Murphy.

“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,” said Blumenthal.

“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,” said Rubio.

“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,” said Scott.

Between 2010 and 2017, Connecticut’s Puerto Rican population increased from 264,000 to 292,000—an 11 percent jump.