Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help School Districts Accommodate Students From Puerto Rico

July 26, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio 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.


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


Senator Rick Scott said, “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 Marco Rubio said, “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 Richard Blumenthal said, “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.”