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Title I-C Migrant Education

Why did Congress enact a state administered and operated Migrant Education Program in 1966?

  • Migrant children had a high incidence of mobility.
  • Migrant children were viewed by school districts as non-resident children and as such, not the district’s responsibility.
  • The regular school year (180 days) and its fixed curricula did not accommodate short spans of instruction.
  • There was no continuity of instruction from district to district, much less state to state.
  • In light of student mobility, maximum flexibility for shifting funds so that the money would follow the students was desired in determining the entitlement entity (i.e., SEA versus LEA).

Migrancy as a Way of Life

  • The principal reasons migrants move from one area to another or from state to state are to find work, to get better pay for their work, or to better their economic situation.
  • Initially, the term “migrant” and “migrant worker” referred to seasonal agricultural workers who followed the crops and harvests.

    Later, the term “migrant worker” was expanded by statute to include persons who moved to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in fishing, dairy farming, and processing of agricultural and fishing products.  The children of theses workers no represent a significant part of the migrant child population.

  • The first real migrant movement began after the Civil War when freed slaves fled north and fell into agricultural work in Ohio, New York, and other northern states.
  • Later, three main streams of migrant workers developed:
    • The Eastern Stream was made up of workers who moved up and down east of the Appalachians.
    • The Central Stream covered the great Mississippi basin with migrants moving in all directions back and forth out of Texas.
    • The Western Stream was a great movement from California to Arizona to Oregon and Washington, made up primarily of documented and undocumented workers with roots in Texas and Mexico.
  • Today, the streams often overlap, and include many ethnic and nationality groups: Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, other Latin Americans of Hispanic origin, African Americans, Anglo Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Vietnamese, and others.
  • Many migrant families migrate in a continuous cycle from an originating location (home base) to other locations and then back. Some simply move from one region to another.  Others are more transient moving without a clear pattern—simply seeking better opportunities.
  • While certain crops have become mechanized (e.g., wheat, cotton, sugar beets) and need fewer workers, crops such as apples, cucumbers, squash, green onions, broccoli, strawberries, melons, asparagus, etc. still require a great deal of individual attention. The processing of agricultural and fishing products also require intensive temporary or seasonal labor.
  • Work conditions with field crops are, in large part, determined by the farmer, by the contractor who works directly for the farmer, or by the foreman who ensures that workers do their job. In some cases, migrants encounter serious problems due to poor sanitation, housing conditions, and social isolation.

    Significant dangers and difficult work conditions are also prevalent in fishing, the processing of agricultural and fishing products.

  • Sometimes, the children of migrant workers miss school out of economic necessity—they must work alongside their parents to help the family survive. Sometimes, older migrant children miss school to take care of younger children—to free both parents to work in the fields.  Sometimes, migrant children miss school because of the frequent moves made by the family to obtain work.

    These educational interruptions in combination with low household income, cultural and language barriers, social and community isolation, and various health-related problems, inhibit the ability of migrant children to do well in school.

What is Title I-C?

When families move frequently for work in the agricultural industries, their children may have challenges in school.  To assist these families, we have a federally funded migrant program.  This program is especially designed to provide students extra academic help during the school day, individual tutoring after school, or a summer program.  Classroom support assists students who have had an interruption in their schooling. There are paraprofessionals who work directly with students and help with their academic needs. Parents may also be assisted in finding medical or dental providers, accessing social services or other community services.  TFSD has three liaisons who identify and assist migrant students: Abby Montaño (elementary schools), Carmen Castillo (middle schools), and Lucinda Padilla (high schools.)  Contact information for the liaisons can be found on the flyer on this webpage. 

See what some recent students did during Migrant Summer School by watching their class projects below: