ERIC Identifier: ED286702
Publication Date: 1983-02-00
Author: Dyson, Deborah S.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Rural Education and Small Schools Las Cruces NM.
Utilizing Available Resources at the Local Level. Fact Sheet.
It is an unfortunate but undeniable reality that our educational system
has been developed for, and geared toward, the permanent community resident.
Until 15 years ago, little or no provision had been made for the education of
children of migrant workers. Fortunately, there is now a concentrated effort at
all government levels to change this situation.
The migrant student poses a very challenging problem for our educational
system today. Educators and administrators are beginning to realize that migrant
students need more from education than the basics. They need an education that
can be related to everyday life, an education that will give hope for a brighter
In addition to the regular classroom curriculum, it is important for migrant
children to become acquainted with their community, however temporary it may be.
They should learn what the community represents, the services that a community
offers, and how their lives can be improved by making use of those services.
Migrant students should be provided an opportunity to learn career and
vocational skills which will increase their employability. And they should have
an opportunity for involvement in extracurricular activities where they might
develop special talents and social skills.
By adding these components to the basic educational plan, migrant children
will gain a better understanding of how education can lead to an improved
HOW CAN THE MIGRANT STUDENT'S ADJUSTMENT TO NEW SURROUNDINGS BE EASED?
The first step in educating migrant children is to assist them in adjusting
to their new environment. Many children experience the transfer from one school
to another during the span of their education. The adjustment period is often
difficult and may take a temporary toll on the child's progress. Imagine, then,
the problems migrant children must face as they shift from one school to
another--perhaps as often as three times a year. Very often migrant children do
not use English as a primary language; they are not accepted readily by their
classmates because they are "different"; educational approaches and textbooks
tend to vary from school to school; and many times instructors are not willing
to bother with a student who will be in the classroom only a few weeks. The
result is a child with little confidence and low self-esteem. The high
percentage of drop-outs among migrant students, especially at the secondary
level, is in many cases due to the student's feelings of isolation, of not being
an accepted member of the group. Taking all of this into consideration, it is
little wonder that migrant students are often evaluated as being well below the
level of their peers.
It is necessary for migrant children to adjust to their new surroundings as
quickly as possible in order to avoid further delays in their education. The
Jackson County Migrant Education Program in Oregon has produced a handbook which
deals with this problem. Entitled MIGRANT EDUCATION--HARVEST OF HOPE, the book
covers several topics including basic knowledge of children for whom English is
a second language (the ESL child), how migrant students relate to their teacher
and suggestions for meeting the needs of the ESL child. But most important is
the book's underlying message--that the migrant student needs understanding,
respect and encouragement.
WHAT COMMUNITY SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO MIGRANT CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS?
Migrant families are often considered to be non-residents of the communities
where they settle during a particular season, and historically, migrants have
been denied many community services such as use of health services, public
libraries, and even recreational facilities. Thanks to federal and state
legislation, many local services are now available to the migrant family.
Education of the migrant child has become a primary concern in most areas.
Many communities offer Headstart programs for preschool age children as well as
a variety of special elementary and secondary school programs. Local school
districts in some states (including Colorado, Oregon, and Iowa) provide summer
school programs for migrant students. Florida school districts waive
non-resident tuition payments for migrant students.
Local health departments provide migrant families with a wide variety of
diagnostic, therapeutic, and follow-up medical and dental services at low or no
cost. In California, migrants may take advantage of mobile health clinics which
are able to locate near the people they serve.
Local welfare departments offer assistance through the food stamp program,
emergency assistance, and employment training and placement.
In many communities, help for migrant children and their parents can be
obtained from clubs, volunteer organizations and church groups in the form of
child care, food, and clothing.
All of these services are available to migrant children and their parents,
but they do no good if migrant families are unaware of the existence of such
services. There are many good publications available on locating and utilizing
community resources. Two such works are worthy of special note: the REFERRAL
HANDBOOK OF COMMUNITY SERVICES, published by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University; and the GEORGIA MIGRANT EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES MANUAL,
1981-82, sponsored by the Georgia State Department of Education.
HOW CAN COMMUNITY SERVICES BE USED AS EDUCATIONAL AIDS?
The migrant child's understanding of his or her community can be dramatically
increased by direct contact with community resources and programs. Not only will
children better understand the role they can play in the community, but this is
often an excellent way for community groups to become aware of the needs of
Many instructors have found that the best way to familiarize students with
the community is through the implementation of field trip programs. The Vermont
State Department of Education has printed a very informative book on the
planning of field trips, and possible sources for trips. In many cases, however,
it may be easier to bring the community to the school. Often personnel from
local services such as health or welfare departments are more than happy to come
into the classroom to give presentations of their services.
Migrant students at the secondary level benefit greatly from
community-involved vocational programs. A book dealing specifically with this
subject is available through the Indiana State Department of Public Instruction.
Entitled COMMUNITY RESOURCES GUIDE--A BIBLIOGRAPHY AND GUIDELINES FOR USE OF
COMMUNITY RESOURCES, this handbook offers a wealth of information on developing
community-focused career education programs, and includes a bibliography of
WHAT DO EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES OFFER THE MIGRANT CHILD?
Involvement in a school's extracurricular activities can be an important
learning experience for the migrant child as clubs and organized activities
often teach the basic concepts and values of society as a whole. Participation
in extracurricular programs gives migrant children opportunities to develop
special skills and talents and promotes more positive attitudes about themselves
and school in general.
Many migrant children are deprived of participation in extracurricular
activities due to transportation problems, home activities, after-school
responsibilities, or simply because the parents are not aware of the
extracurricular programs available. Some of these difficulties can be overcome
by offering activity programs during school hours, by increasing the
availability of after-school transportation, and by developing ways of informing
parents of extracurricular activities.
In some areas, recreation programs are sponsored by clubs, organizations or
the local office of parks and recreation. In Florida, the Dade County Park and
Recreation Department has developed a recreation program aimed directly at
migrant children. The facility, which is located close to a migrant camp, offers
plenty of adult supervision and activity coordination, including bilingual
explanations for games and activities. The program's main goal is to contribute
to the mental, physical, and social well-being of the children regardless of
language, skin color, or physical limitations.
In the past few years, great strides have been made in migrant education, and
due to a concentrated effort, the enrollment of migrant students has been
dramatically increased. The challenge, now, is to make a drastic cut in the
number of migrant student drop-outs. By providing migrant students with
opportunities for career education, community involvement, and interaction; and
by offering the encouragement and support that they need, this will be
FOR MORE INFORMATION
AFTER TEN YEARS OF PROGRESS, THEN WHAT IN MIGRANT EDUCATION. The Annual
Eastern Stream Regional Conference for Migrant Education (7th, Virginia Beach,
Virginia; March 7-12, 1976). A Report. Richmond: Virginia State Department of
Education, 1976. ED 196 615.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES GUIDE--BIBLIOGRAPHY AND GUIDELINES FOR USE OF COMMUNITY
RESOURCES. Indianapolis: Indiana State Dept. of Public Instruction, 1978. ED 171
Grady, Joan B. STUDENT ACTIVITIES. . . AN EXTENSION OF THE CURRICULUM.
Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals, Oct. 1981. ED
Hickerson, Mike. GEORGIA MIGRANT EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES MANUAL, 1981-82.
Atlanta: Georgia State Dept. of Education, Oct. 1981. ED 212 447.
Jackson County Migrant Education. MIGRANT EDUCATION--HARVEST OF HOPE.
Medford, OR: Jackson County Education Service District, 1981. ED 212 441.
Kunkel, R. C., and S. A. Tucker. VALE: VALUE ASSESSMENT LATINO EDUCATION, A
NEEDS ASSESSMENT MODEL FOR LATINO CHILDREN. Mar. 1978. ED 186 200.
Murrow, Casey, ed. USING OUR COMMUNITIES. AN OUTLINE FOR ACTION IN VERMONT
SCHOOLS. Montpelier, VT: Vermont State Department of Education, Jan. 1977. ED
Myers, Renny J. REFERRAL HANDBOOK OF COMMUNITY SERVICES. Blacksburg, VA:
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, May 1979. ED 179 839.
Romano, Tina. "Recreation Reaches a Migrant Community." PARKS AND RECREATION
Stockburger, Cassandra. COMMUNITY SERVICES FOR CHILDREN OF MIGRANT FARM
WORKERS: A STATUS REPORT. New York: National Organization for Migrant Farm
Children, Inc., Nov. 1977. ED 153 750.