The Vermont Migrant Education Program provides educational support services to eligible children and youth who relocate independently or with their families in order to obtain seasonal or temporary employment in agriculture.
These free services can include free books, tutoring, homework support, English as a Second Language (ESL) support, summer programs and/or referrals to local resources. A child/youth is eligible up until their 22nd birthday or until they obtain their high school diploma or its equivalent.
According to the law, a child is a Migratory Child and eligible for migrant education services if all of the following conditions are met:
- Age: The child is younger than age 22.
- School Completion: The child is eligible for a free public education under state law and does not have a diploma or equivalent.
- Move: The child moved on his or her own as a migratory agricultural worker/fisher OR the child moved with or to join/precede a parent, spouse, or guardian who is a migratory agricultural worker/fisher, AND The move was from one school district to another, AND The move was a change from one residence to another residence, AND The move was due to economic necessity, AND The move occurred within the past 36 months.
- Purpose of Move: One purpose of the worker's move was to seek or obtain qualifying work.
- Qualifying Work: The employment is seasonal or temporary AND the work is agricultural or fishing.
In Vermont, migrant families who qualify for the Migrant Education Program (MEP) under federal guidelines work in such agricultural-related fields as: dairy farming, fruit orchards, vegetable fields, food processing plants, nurseries and logging.
Children of migrant workers and adolescents who are working independently are among the neediest and least visible of Vermont’s population groups. Because of their transience and isolation, it is easy for these students to fall out of step academically and socially.
The percentage of migrant students leaving school before graduation has historically been among the highest single minority group. Studies show that 50% of migrant children have been retained in school by the 2nd grade and 50% of all children held back in school do not graduate. If a child is held back for a second time, 90-95% will never graduate. Therefore, 50% of migrant students are already deemed to never graduate high school by the second grade. (Source: ESCORT, the migrant consulting service for the nation.)
Role and Logistics
The Vermont Agency of Education - in conjunction with UVM Extension and local supervisory unions - serves these children through the federally funded Title I Migrant Education Program. The primary goal of the Migrant Education Program is to locate all migrant children and families in the country and provide supplemental educational services to those who are either struggling academically or socially in their school environment, or provide educational services to those who may currently not be attending school at all.
The federal Migrant Education Program was initially created as part of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty in the 1960’s. Currently running strong across our entire nation, Migrant Education Programs serve hundreds of thousands of migrant students each year.
In the state of Vermont, the MEP is run by the Vermont Agency of Education and provides the supplemental educational services once the students are identified and “on program.” However, in its efforts to identify all migratory children in the state, it has contracted with University of Vermont Extension as the source for all program identification and recruitment outreach. The process of recruitment in Vermont provides the foundation upon which our services are built. UVM Extension MEP recruitment staff work closely with the Vermont Agency of Education, supervisory unions, and local schools, teachers, parents, community service agencies, the UVM Extension network and, of course, the agricultural community.
Last modified July 31 2015 12:52 PM