The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is authorized by Part C of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). Grants provided through ESEA assist states in improving educational opportunities for migratory children to help them succeed in the regular school program, meet the same State academic content and student academic achievement standards that all children are expected to meet, and graduate from high school.
The program aims at identifying and servicing children between the ages of 3 and 21 who are, or whose parents or spouses are, migratory agricultural workers, including migratory dairy workers, or migratory fishermen, and who, in the preceding 36 months, traveled across division/state lines in order to obtain, or accompanied such parents or spouses, in order to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing activity.
The general purpose of the MEP is to ensure that migratory children fully benefit from the same free public education provided to other children. More specifically, the purposes of the MEP are to:
- Support high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migratory children in order to reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves;
- Ensure that migratory children who move among the States are not penalized in any manner by disparities among the States in curriculum, graduation requirements, and State academic content and student academic achievement standards;
- Ensure that migratory children are provided with appropriate educational services (including supportive services) that address their special needs in a coordinated and efficient manner;
- Ensure that migratory children receive full and appropriate opportunities to meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards that all children are expected to meet;
- Design programs to help migratory children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit their ability to do well in school, and to prepare them to make a successful transition to postsecondary education or employment; and
- Ensure that migratory children benefit from State and local systemic reforms.
The department contracts with the non-profit Arroyo Research Services (ARS) for recruiting/advocacy and outreach activities for the migratory children and their families.