Tuesday, June 18, 2013
"Our migrant children ...
they are our only hope ...
Like seedlings, they have been sown in your school.
It is our wish they blossom into harvests of hope."
Source: Illinois Migrant Education Program brochure
This time of year most teachers are packing up their classrooms and beginning their summer vacations. But a number of educators around the country are unpacking boxes, setting up their summer programs, and welcoming new children into their classrooms right now. But these are no ordinary summer school programs. The teachers I am talking about are those working in migrant education programs.
Each year thousands of children and their families move in order to work in the agricultural or fishing industries. Collectively, these families are considered migrant agricultural workers. For many migrant children, their life experiences are impacted by substandard housing, poor nutrition, low wages and seasonal work. Repeatedly moving in order to find employment can impact students' academic achievement. Therefore, the goal of migrant education programs is to reduce the impact of these issues on the children's education. Illinois alone identified over 1,700 children through its Migrant Education Program during the 2011-2012 school year.