« PreviousContinue »
CONTINUE TO SERVE A GROUP OF CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN DENIED EQUAL ED
UCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY MORE THAN ANY OTHER. IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE A
Mr. FORD. We will come back for questions.
Mr. C. L. Conyers, Supervisor, Title I and Migrant Education, Department of Education.
STATEMENT OF C. L. CONYERS
Mr. CONYERS. Almost twelve years have passed since the passage of the amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 to include the education of migratory children. We were all so happy because for the first time in the history of the country, a concerted effort was being made on the part of the Federal Government to recognize and serve the most neglected segment of our populationthe migrant child.
The concern of migrant boys and girls must begin at birth and be reinforced throughout their life. It must begin with a wholesome environment that encourages, motivates, and stimulates curiosity, giving the child a sense of achievement, of being able to deal with his or her environment and willingness to grapple with problems and seek solutions to them. We must, therefore, be concerned with the whole child.
I have asked myself many times in the last twelve years, what of the migrant children? Have they changed? Or are they changeless? From outward appearances they probably don't look the same but what about the inside? Their feelings, hopes, aspirations, dreams, and desires. Perhaps the most unchallenged knowledge we possess that is relevant to schooling is the fact of individual differences. Each migrant child comes to us as a biologically and psychologically unique organism. We know that learning is related not only to capacity but also to values, aspirations, perceptions, needs, and the interest of the individuals. We must provide a wide variety of methods and techniques to insure choices for migrant children so that they may gain respect for learning at the present with a hope for the future, and a sense of purpose and direction in shaping the problems, challenges, rewards, and responsibilities of our society.
I agree that the regulations should be amended and expanded to reflect and implement relevant amendments made by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act by P.L. 93-380. My concerns today are primarily about the following:
1. Expand the program to include children that work in all types of agriculture and related activities. The Interim Rules and Regulations on Migrant Education, page 36080, Subpart A-General 116d.2, that deals with the definition of guardians, states that:
(a) A person who has been appointed the legal guardian of a migratory child through formal proceedings in accordance with State law;
(b) A person who the State agency finds would be appointed to be the legal guardian of a migratory child under the law of the child's domiciliary State if formal guardianship proceedings were undertaken; or
(c) A person standing in place of a parent to the child.
It further states in the comments, page 360.77, that the added definition of guardian is not intended to cover crew leaders having custody of children for the primary purpose of supervising their employment because they are not considered persons standing in the place of parents.
This section of the regulations does not take nto account that a crew leader is given complete custody of the child while they seek gainful employment or while they are temporarily employed.
The crew leader has full control of the child under his custody with a signed statement from the parent or guardian with respect to his:
(a) Preparation for work;
Further, these children that follow crew leaders from Virginia to the tobacco fields of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and North Carolina are in desperate need of finances. Many of them come from rural homes where the parents, themselves, are engaged in farming activities and are in need of the finances to help support their families. Further, the money that these children earn and save during the summer by working in tobacco fields aid them in the purchasing of survival clothing, and to supplement the family income. This is one way which will enable them to attend school regularly during the school year, and ultimately prevent them from becoming a drop-out.
This same crew leader carefully screens these children to ascertain whether or not they are in financial need before they are given permission to go to the tobacco fields. They are checked for such things as:
(a) Economic background;
(d) Whether or not they will benefit from such employment that will aid them in completing their high school education.
Once this information is ascertained by the crew leader, he will then extend an invitation for them to become a part of the crew. Once the children arrive in camp, the crew leader becomes the only person that is responsible for their welfare. Every decision that affects the child is made by the crew leader.
Further, it does not seem reasonable to disqualify these children because he or she migrates and the parent or guardian does not. Under the interim regulations, this child would become the migrant and is the one seeking seasonal and temporary employment. Additional data are available to show that it was the intent of Congress for these children following crew leaders be served under the law. To exclude these children would be depriving even a larger group of children coming from other states as well as the States of Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
2. Continuity of Education and Services:
I have since the beginning of migrant education supported the idea of continuity of education and services for migrant children. It is impossible for home base states to completely solve all of their problems, but with the aid of receiving States, a concerted effort must be made by all States. Inasmuch as migrants do not necessarily travel by specific stream any longer, more and more the data bank becomes our big hope for continuity.
What are some of the areas that we must provide for continuity? (a) Health Services; (b) Critical Data (Key or School Data), Identifying Children; (c) Academic (Testing Programs); (d) Special Interest Programs (Career and Vocational Education); (e) Needs Assessment. 3. Migrant Student Record Transfer System:
This system has been invaluable to us over the past years. It must continue to serve as a source of data but most of all for program planning and development of needs assessment. Tracking students is also vital and the data bank has helped us immensely.
Health data on each child regardless of his movement is important. We can cite case after case to show how the data bank has helped. The utilization of data from the data bank is proving more and more valuable to states.
The approval of new national reading and mathematics skills is in the best interest of the migrant child.
The MSRTS serves as a basis for:
With over 500,000 migrant children already in the data bank, the funding of programs for these children have increased each year and should continue as more and more children are identified. I do not mean to imply that we must not be accountable, on the contrary, as needs are identified and documents, funds should be provided to meet these needs.
I believe very strongly that we must still continue to receive our funds from the top of Title I since these children are so closely related with similar needs.
5. The New Interim Regulations would be advantageous to preschoolers or minors in migrant families in that these children will be afforded:
(a) Continuity in educational program; (b) Parental involvement: (c) Supportive services; 1. Day care services for infants and very young migrant children; (d) Programs for preschool children under the age of public elementary education; and then it would help us in
(e) Cooperation programs.
During the past eleven years, I have had the pleasant task to supervise Virginia's migrant program and at the same time visit and observe other programs throughout the country. Let me share with you some of the questions often asked me about migrants.
1. Will automation deprive migrants of a livlihood as they now know it?
2. What will life for migrants be like in the growing years ahead?
3. If they are not to migrate, how would they best be assimilated in rural areas or urban areas?
4. Should we attempt to keep them from migrating?
5. What does all of this mean in terms of developing school plants, curriculum, securing of personnel and employment practices and opportunities?
6. Why do migrants keep migrating? Why don't they leave the migrant stream?
Personally, I do not have the answer to these questions and I am not aware of anyone that does, but let me begin by saying that migrants have the same basic human needs as all other human beings. These needs are:
(a) Food, sleep, fresh air, shelter, and protection from danger; (b) A chance to love and be loved in return;
(c) An opportunity to be an independent person, but able to depend on others;
(d) A feeling of importance and value as an individual; and (e) Freedom-freedom to grow, to learn, to explore, and to create.
Further, let me answer by giving you my analyses of the film I saw titled, “No Harvest For The Reaper". This Long Island story begins in Arkansas where the crew leader recruits his workers and he says, “All you've got to do is get on my bus." He barely mentions the fare they will pay for transportation that will begin a treadmill of debt. Sometimes picking strawberries for 10 cents per quart, earning only $2 per day; transportation to and from the fields $1.25 per day; filthy accommodations for $3 per week; food that his wife will sell from the chuck wagon and wine purchased from the ABC store and sell it to them for double the price.
As a result, and at the end of the Long Island harvest, the migrant will have no choice but to follow the crew leader to the next step, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington, Virginia, etc., and then back to Arkansas and Long Island. The film points out their inability to leave the stream.
In an allegorical sense, we can ask ourselves as did the Prophet Isiah; Who hath believed our reports? Opulent America cannot believe because they do not see the migrant people who are crowded in camps off from the mainstream of our society. Yet we can see the reflections of the sun and rockets encircling the earth and the works of man in outer space, so our eyes are blinded to the needs of man in inner space at a price tag of 4-1. I believe it is not a matter of being unable to see, to believe the report of poverty in the midst of plenty, it is that we do not wish to see and believe.
Perhaps it is as the Prophet Isiah wrote and again may I take poetic license to make this point. In the 53rd Chapter of Isiah, “For he (the migrant child) shall grow up as a tender plant, and a root out of dry ground, he has no form or cruelness and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we shall desire him”.
Until we have the fortitude to take the part of this migrant child, no matter how unlovely he may be, we cannot truly say we are interested in the well-being of all children.
Henry Thoreau said: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be built, now put some foundation under them".
Past dreams, or dreams, you may say. No, I believe that we have already begun to implement the most important dream of our times—the education of migrant children. Many of the foundations have already been laid, but we recognize that ahead of us lies a great destiny of our dedication and strength to see if we have the faith, dedication, strength, will, and determination to fully achieve the total education of the migrant child.
Mr. FORD. Thank you very much.
Mr. Robert Youngblood, Director of Migrant Education, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT YOUNGBLOOD, DIRECTOR OF MIGRANT
EDUCATION, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee.
I have had the privilege for the past eight years to serve as State Director of Migrant Education for North Carolina. I share with pride in the accomplishments that have been presented here by my fellow directors of some of the successes we have had in migrant education over the period of ten years.
I would like to direct my comments this morning to 11 points that are in my testimony that will help to provide continued growth and development for the migrant program, and then I will summarize.
My first comment would be related to the uniform definition of "migrants”. Each program and each organization has its own definition of a "migrant”. The multitude of definitions makes it very difficult to provide services to this group.
There should be a thorough study made to provide a uniform definition to provide services to all of the groups that receive Federal funds. I think we would have better coordination of services once we understand, and there is some uniformity in the definition of, the many programs that provide services for these children.
My second comment would be relating to the total number of years of eligibility of children to participate in the migrant program. The statement of the law and the regulations are not clear on the total number of years that a child may participate in the migrant education program.
In defining a formerly migratory child, Section 122(a)(3) states: "with the concurrence of his parents, a migratory child of a migratory agricultural worker or migratory fisherman shall be deemed to