U.S. Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., along with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., today introduced bicameral and bipartisan legislation to ensure that states like Florida and Connecticut receive their fair share of federal funding to provide English-language instruction to K-12 students. The ELEVATE Act will improve the formula that the U.S. Department of Education uses to make grants to states so they can hire teachers and purchase instructional materials to help non-native English-speaking students learn the language. The current funding formula does not fully capture students who relocate to a state from Puerto Rico, where Spanish is the primary language of instruction. The bill will correct this flaw, which will be especially helpful to states like Florida and Connecticut that have large and growing Puerto Rican populations.
Between 2010 and 2017, Florida’s Puerto Rican population rose from 864,000 to 1.1 million—a 27 percent increase. Connecticut’s Puerto Rican population increased from 264,000 to 292,000—an 11 percent jump.