The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is an exhaustive legislative program for education in American schools. The Act addresses the unique requirements for different classes of students, including that of migrants. It also contains the major statutory provisions that apply to the Migrant Education Program. This program is designed in order to help State Educational Agencies and other allied agencies. Supplemental educational and support services to help migrant children are part of the program.
The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is designed to help state educational agencies (SEAs) and local operating agencies use MEP funds to develop and implement supplemental educational and support services to help migrant children. This program replaces all prior non-regulatory guidelines in existence for the MEP. Although not all of the guidelines are binding (as are the statute and regulations) if a State educational agency (SEA) follows the guidance, it is deemed to be in compliance with applicable requirements. However, SEAs may develop alternative approaches to meet their particular needs and circumstances as long as that approach is consistent with the MEP statute and regulations.
Fund allocations are proposed to ensure that migrant children receive high quality education and are not penalized through irregularities in “curriculum, graduation requirements, or state academic content and student academic achievement standards across the states. The funds are also intended to provide migrant children with appropriate education services (including supportive services) that address their special needs. The program tries to ensure that these 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. Federal funds are allocated by formula to state educational agencies, based on each state’s per pupil expenditure for education and counts of eligible migratory children, age 3 through 21, residing within the state.
States use program funds to identify eligible children and provide education and support services. These services include: academic instruction; remedial and compensatory instruction; bilingual and multicultural instruction; vocational instruction; career education services; special guidance; counseling and testing services; health services; and preschool services.
The goal of the Migrant Education Program (which is a component of the NCLB Act) is to ensure that all migrant students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma (or complete a GED) that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment.
Other initiatives to improve Migrant Education include several leadership initiatives to increase the capacity of State educational agencies, local school districts, schools, and other community organizations to continuously improve the educational outcomes attained by migrant children. These initiatives currently focus on the following:
- Bi-national Migrant Program
- Comprehensive Needs Assessment
- Identification and Recruitment
- Student Records Exchange
- Secondary Students