The Vermont Migrant Education Program provides educational support services to children (age 21 and under) of families that relocate 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 support, summer programs, and referrals to local resources. Migratory Child: A child who is, or whose parent or spouse is, a migratory agricultural worker and who in the preceding 36 months in order to obtain, or accompany such parent or spouse, in order to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work and has moved from one school district to another. A child/youth is eligible up until their 22nd birthday or until they obtain their high school diploma or its equivalent.
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 that 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 Department of Education in conjunction with UVM Extension and local supervisory unions serve 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 Department 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 of the program's 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 Department of Education, supervisory unions, local schools, teachers, parents, community service agencies, the UVM Extension network, and, of course, the agricultural community.
Last modified June 14 2013 03:08 PM