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

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The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-382) reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The purpose of the reauthorized ESEA is to improve teaching and learning for all children to enable them to meet challenging academic content and student performance standards. The reauthorized ESEA complements the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the School-To-Work Opportunities Act by supporting state and local education reform efforts and promoting coordination of resources to improve education for all students.

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is authorized by Part C of Title I of the ESEA. The MEP provides formula grants to state education agencies (SEAs) to establish or improve programs of education for children of qualifying migrant workers. These grants assist states in improving educational opportunities for migrant children to help them succeed in the regular school program, attain grade-level proficiency, and meet the challenging content and student performance standards that all children are expected to master. The MEP supports all eight of the National Education Goals:

  1. All children in America will start school ready to learn.

  2. The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.

  3. All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our nation's modern economy.

  4. U.S. students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.

  5. Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

  6. Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol, and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.

  7. The nation's teaching force will have access to resources for the continuing improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century.

  8. Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.

The reauthorized ESEA offers unprecedented flexibility to states and localities to improve teaching and learning for all children, including the children of migrant workers. Migrant educators are encouraged to use the opportunities presented under the E SEA, Goals 2000, and School-to-Work Act to leverage all resources to help migrant students achieve to high standards.

Statutory Purpose of the Program

The general purpose of the MEP is to ensure that children of migrant workers have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschool education, provided to other children. To achieve this purpose, the MEP helps state and local education agencies remove barriers to the school enrollment, attendance, and achievement of migrant children. More specifically, the statutory purposes of the MEP outlined in Section 1301 are to:

  • Ensure that migrant children have the opportunity to meet the same challenging state content standards and challenging state student performance standards that all children are expected to meet;

  • Support high quality and comprehensive educational programs for migrant children to help reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves;

  • Ensure that migrant children are provided with appropriate educational services (including supportive services) that address their special needs in a coordinated and efficient manner;

  • Design programs to help migrant children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit the ability of such children to do well in school, and to prep are such children to make a successful transition to postsecondary education or employment; and

  • Ensure that migrant children benefit from state and local systemic reforms.

Purpose of this Guidance

This document is designed to help states and local operating agencies as they apply for and use funds available under the MEP, and as they develop and implement their education reform efforts. The guidance in this document replaces all prior nonregulatory guidance for the MEP. Compliance with the guidance in this document will be deemed by departmental officials, including the inspector general, as compliance with the applicable federal statutes and regulations.

This guidance does not impose requirements beyond those in the ESEA and other applicable federal statutes and regulations. While states may wish to consider the guidance, they are free to develop their own approaches that are consistent with applicable federal statutes and regulations. The guidance in this document is not intended to be prescriptive, nor is it exhaustive. This document is one of many resources for states and local education agencies to use as they determine how best to meet the needs of migrant students in a manner consistent with the minimal requirements of the ESEA. It is intended to be read in conjunction with the authorizing statute, applicable regulations, associated application packages, and guidance for other programs (such as Title I, Part A, and Title VII) that are relevant to the MEP.

States have the opportunity to make decisions about how best to implement and operate the MEP, utilizing the opportunities provided under the reauthorized ESEA. It is critical that SEA and LEA staff realize that they no longer need to continue practices simply because they are based on longstanding policy or were previously determined to be sufficient for audit purposes. Looking beyond what programs have done in the past to what they can do in the future to improve teaching and learning for all children is probably the biggest challenge to educational reform. SEAs and LEAs are encouraged to adopt new ideas and practices to better enable migrant children to achieve to high standards.

Using this Guidance

To provide for better understanding of how the reauthorization of the ESEA affects the MEP, the remainder of this guidance is organized around five new directions for the ESEA, as amended by the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994:

  • High standards for all children--with the elements of education aligned so that everything is working together to help students reach those standards

  • Resources targeted to where needs are greatest

  • A focus on teaching and learning

  • Links among schools, parents, and communities

  • Flexibility to stimulate local school-based and district innovation, coupled with responsibility for student performance

This guidance uses a variety of strategies to clarify statutory or regulatory requirements, including examples of innovative practices and information on useful resources available through the U.S. Department of Education. The examples provided in th is document should not be viewed as the "only" or even the "best" way to address particular statutory or regulatory requirements. They are provided to help practitioners consider the range of options available, and to stimulate thinking about teaching and learning in the context of local needs and resources. The Department recognizes that effective programs, whether similar to or different from examples provided in the text, are currently being implemented in a great many sites across the nation. The Department applauds all sites that are using innovative programming to help migrant children achieve to high academic standards.

Several issues addressed in this document (including parent involvement, schoolwide projects, and standards and assessments) are discussed in greater detail in the guidance for Title I, Part A programs.

A Note on Terminology

The following terms are important to understand and warrant further clarification:

  • All students: The term "all students" is used throughout this document. By "all students," the Department means every child in a school or educational program without regard to cultural or ethnic background, level of English profici ency, gender, economic status, disabilities, or family mobility in the case of students who remain in a given school for only a short period of time.

  • Limited English proficient (LEP): The Department recognizes that practitioners are reconsidering the use of this term to refer to linguistically diverse student populations, including in some cases substituting the term "English Langu age Learners (ELL)" for LEP students. The term "limited English proficient" or "LEP" is used throughout this document to maintain consistency among the authorizing statute, regulations, and nonregulatory guidance.

  • Migratory child: The Department recognizes that the term "child" is awkward when used to describe a teenager or young adult. However, the term "migratory child" is used in this document when referring to program eligibility to maint ain consistency with the language of the authorizing statute, which defines "migratory child" to mean all eligible individuals ages 3 through 21. The terms migrant children and migrant students are also used throughout the document. These are the terms most often used in documents generated at the state and local level.

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Last Modified: 05/15/2009