Districts, Schools and Educators

Migrant Education Program Overview

History of the Migrant Education Program

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is authorized under Title I, Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, reauthorized in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The purpose of the MEP is to meet the unique educational needs of migratory children and their families in order to ensure that migrant students reach challenging academic standards and graduate high school. Specifically, the goal of state MEPs is to design programs to help migratory children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, health-related problems, and other factors inhibiting migratory children from doing well in school and making the transition to postsecondary education or employment [Title I, Part C, Sec. 1301(5)]. The Program faces the continual challenge of locating, enrolling, and maintaining contact with eligible students and their families.

The MEP in Minnesota began in the 1970s in Minnesota’s Red River Valley. The focus of the program was on getting kids out of the fields. Initially the program consisted of day programs for elementary and middle school migratory children and evolved by offering night programs for secondary students to continue their work on high school credit accrual. Migrant families play a vital role in contributing to the economic development in the state of Minnesota. The work of migratory families has historically been with agri-business (meat and poultry processing), harvesting field crops (sugar beets, corn, and peas) and canning and food processing. Most of Minnesota’s migrant families have come from southern Texas (mainly Hispanic families). We are recently identifying other communities (Karen, Somali, and Micronesian) who are also working in agri-businesses.

The Key Components of the MEP are:

  • Identification, Recruitment, and Eligibility
  • State Migrant Education Program Funding Allocation and Use of Funds
  • Program Planning – Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Service Delivery Plan
  • Provision of Services
  • Parental Involvement
  • Program Coordination
  • Program Evaluation
  • Program Performance Reporting

Migratory Agricultural Worker Definition

The term migratory agricultural worker means an individual who made a qualifying move in the preceding 36 months and, after doing so, engaged in new temporary or seasonal employment or personal subsistence in agriculture, which may be dairy work or the initial processing of raw agricultural products. If an individual did not engage in such new employment soon after a qualifying move, such individual may be considered a migratory agricultural worker if the individual actively sought such new employment and has a recent history of moves for temporary or seasonal agricultural employment.

Migratory Child Definition

A child is a “migratory child” if the following conditions are met:

  1. The child is not older than 21 years of age; and
  2. [the following]
  1. The child is entitled to a free public education (through grade 12) under state law, or
  2. The child is not yet at a grade level at which the local education agency provides a free public education, and
  1. The child made a qualifying move in the preceding 36 months as a migratory agricultural worker or a migratory fisher, or did so with, or to join a parent/guardian or spouse who is a migratory agricultural worker or a migratory fisher; and
  2. With regard to the qualifying move identified in paragraph 3, above, the child moved due to economic necessity from one residence to another residence, and –
  1. From one school district to another; or
  2. In a State that is comprised of a single school district, has moved from one administrative area to another within such district; or
  3. Resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence.

Priority for Services Definition

In providing services with funds received under Title I, Part C, each recipient of such funds shall give priority to migratory children under the following criteria:

  1. Educational Interruption: In the preceding 12 months, the student has a qualifying arrival date (QAD) between September 1 and August 31; and
  2. Failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet state standards:
  1. Student scored below proficient on a State academic assessment; OR
  2. Student scored below age/grade level on a local academic assessment; OR
  3. Student is an English learner (EL) as identified by an English language proficiency assessment; OR
  4. Secondary student is credit deficient; OR
  5. Out-of-school youth (OSY); OR
  6. Student dropped out of school; OR
  7. Student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan.

For more information on the national migrant education program, visit the Office of Migrant Education website.

Updated 4-25-2018