The purpose of the Oklahoma Migrant Education Program (MEP) is to locate migratory children, determine whether they are eligible for the program, and, if they are, provide them with the supplemental instructional and support services they need to succeed in school. The video, Dateline: Children of the Harvest 2011, (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/38308025#38308025) shows how the education of the children of America’s agricultural migratory workers is at risk as a consequence of their family’s mobile way of life. The Oklahoma Department of Education provides Oklahoma school districts with federal financial assistance to help improve the educational opportunities and academic success of the children of migratory agricultural workers. (Based on the information in our national database, MSIX, Oklahoma currently has 648 migratory students who missed the identification and enrollment process that would provide them with these much needed services.)
Identification means actively looking for and finding migrant children and youth. Recruitment means making contact with the family or youth and obtaining the necessary information to document the student’s eligibility and enroll them into the MEP. The Office of Bilingual and Migrant Education wants to ensure that migrant children who move among the states are not penalized in any manner by disparities among the states in curriculum, graduation requirements, state academic content, and student academic achievement standards. The principal operational goal of the MEP is to ensure that all migrant students meet challenging academic standards so that they graduate with a high school diploma or receive a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment.
In addition to the district local recruiters, the program also employs a statewide recruiter who travels throughout the state to locate those migrant students that have not been identified and enrolled into the MEP. To accomplish this mission, the statewide migrant recruiter needs the assistance of local school districts’ staff, employers, businesses, community-based organizations, and the community in general.
Who is known as a “migrant” agricultural worker? Migrant agricultural workers perform a variety of temporary and seasonal jobs that help produce, harvest, and process crops, livestock, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy, and other agricultural products. Due to their need to make a living that will sustain them and their families throughout the year, migrants must travel from one agricultural job to the next, following the harvest with the changing seasons. Jobs are often located far from one another, requiring the worker to move and reside temporarily in an area near the work. Many workers and their families migrate back and forth from a home base to locations where they can obtain temporary or seasonal jobs.
Lura Lee Braun, Program Specialist
José Henriquez, State Migrant Recruiter
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Office: (405) 521-2846
Fax: (405) 521-2361