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No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference
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Education of Migratory Children (I-C)


This program's goal is to support high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migrant children to help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves. In addition, the program attempts to ensure that migrant children who move between states are not put at a disadvantage because of disparities in curriculum, graduation requirements, and content and student academic achievement standards. In school year 1997-98, the program served 621,000 migrant students. This represents about 1.4 percent of all students.

Migrant students have many risk factors in common with other disadvantaged students (e.g., poverty, poor health, learning disabilities), but they also face additional challenges unique to their situations (e.g., disruption of education, poor record-keeping between schools, cultural and language difficulties, and social isolation). Because migrant students usually account for only a small percentage of the total student population, many schools and districts find it difficult to dedicate the level of resources that may be necessary to ensure the best educational experience possible for their migrant students.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Establishes a national information system to electronically transfer health and educational information for all children served by the Migrant Education Program (MEP). The U.S. Department of Education will be responsible for developing a national information system and determining the minimum data elements that each state receiving funds should collect and maintain. The national information system will facilitate school access to this information.
  • Requires state education agencies (SEAs) and local school districts receiving MEP funds to provide records on migrant students to other SEAs and districts at no cost. This requirement will reduce the burden on SEAs and districts receiving migrant students.

Increases Accountability for Student Performance

  • Holds migrant children to the same challenging state content and student performance standards as all children. Under Title I, Part A, state assessment systems must be able to disaggregate the performance results for migrant students. Districts and schools must provide achievement information and school report cards to the parents of migrant students.

Empowers Parents

  • Requires school districts and schools to provide school report cards to the parents of migrant students in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that they can understand. All the requirements for Title I assessment, accountability and flexibility must be explained to migrant parents so that they can make informed decisions about their children's education.

How It Works

The Migrant Education Program provides SEAs with funding through a state formula grant based on each state's per-pupil expenditure and counts of migrant children between 3 and 21 years old. The statute defines a "migratory child" as a child under 22 years of age who is a migrant agricultural worker or fisher, or who has a parent, spouse, or guardian who is a migrant agricultural worker, and who has moved across school district boundaries within the previous 36 months in order to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work.

Key Requirements

Migrant education programs are required to:

  • Ensure that the special educational needs of migrant children are identified and addressed;
  • Provide migrant students with the opportunity to meet the same challenging state academic content standards that all children are expected to meet;
  • Promote interstate and intrastate coordination of services for migrant children, including providing for educational continuity through the timely transfer of pertinent school records; and
  • Encourage family literacy services for migrant students and their families.

SEAs must assure that there is consultation with parent advisory councils for programs of one school year in duration and all programs and projects are carried out in a manner that provides for the same parental involvement as Title I, Part A. Title I Part A requires that each school district must develop and distribute to parents a written parent involvement policy that establishes the agency's expectations for parent involvement. Schools must convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of participating children must be invited and encouraged to attend, to provide parents with timely information about programs, a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet. Also, each school must develop with parents for all children served under this part a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will develop a partnership to help children achieve the state's high standards. To the extent practicable, materials must be in a format and language understandable to the parents. SEAs also must assure that there is adequate provision for addressing the unmet needs of preschool migrant children.

To the extent feasible, all MEP programs and projects also are required to provide for advocacy and outreach for migratory children and their families on such topics as education, health, nutrition, and social services. They must also provide professional development programs for teachers and other program personnel; family literacy programs; the integration of information technology into MEP activities; and programs to facilitate the transition of secondary school students to postsecondary education or employment.

How Performance Is Measured

The effectiveness of programs and projects will be determined, where feasible, using the same approaches and standards used to assess the performance of students, schools, and districts under Title I, Part A. In Title I, Part A, performance is measured by how well schools and districts are making adequate yearly progress in applying the same high standards of academic achievement to all public elementary and secondary school students. Performance information will be publicly disseminated on an annual basis through a system of state and school district report cards. States also must report annually to the secretary of education on: their progress in implementing the requirements of the new law; student achievement on state assessments (disaggregated by groups of students including migrants); and information about schools in need of improvement, public school choice, supplemental educational services, and teacher quality.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007