Migrant Education Program
Preliminary Guidance for Title I, Part C
Public Law 103-382

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Priority for Serving Migrant Students

While the prior statute generally required that children who were "currently migrant" (i.e., children who had made a qualifying move within the past 12 months) be given priority for services over less recently mobile migrant children, the new statute esta blishes a new and much different priority for the receipt of services under the MEP. Under Section 1304(d) of the new ESEA, state MEPs must give priority for services to migrant children --

  • Who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the state's content and performance standards; AND

  • Whose education has been interrupted during the regular school year.

State MEPs must establish and implement appropriate procedures to identify and target services to such children. There is no single correct way to do so. However, as the first "yardstick" for determining the degree to which a migrant child is at risk of failing to meet challenging state standards, the state MEP could examine a migrant child's performance on the assessment instruments the state (or LEA) uses to assess mastery of its established content standards Those migrant children whose results on state assessments show them to be t he furthest from meeting the state's standards would be served first. If the state does not have assessment data on a particular migrant child (e.g., the child was not present in the district when the assessment was administered), then the state might us e other relevant information, like the degree to which the child is subject to multiple risk factors (e.g., being overage or behind grade level, eligible for free/reduced price lunch, limited English proficient) to determine the child's need for services. Among the children determined to be failing or most at risk of failing, priority for service would be given to those children whose education has been interrupted during the regular school year. The state, in collaboration with local operating agencies, is free to determine what constitutes "educational interruption" under Section 1304(d).

The new service priority does not necessarily preclude the provision of MEP services to those migrant children who do not meet the priority. The state could still operate projects for these migrant children if it made services available to those children who meet the two elements of the priority before providing MEP services to other migrant children. For example, a state MEP operating only summer term projects could serve migrant children who reside in the state during the summer but who do not experience interrupted schooling during t he regular school year, if those migrant students who meet the service priorities are already being served.


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Last Modified: 05/15/2009