Page images
PDF
EPUB

continue to be such a child for a period, not in excess of five years, during which he resides in an area served by the agency carrying on a program or project under this part.

The problem of this definition is -and it is repeated in the regulation, the same definition is that we are not sure whether it has a total of six years eligibility or five years.

If you go back and read this, you can make justification for a total of six years' eligibility or a total of five years' eligibility. There is a lack of uniformity of understanding with State directors in the number of years that Congress intended to provide under this clause. I think it needs to be clarified in either the law or the regulation so we would know the full intent of this provision of the law.

Next I would like to discuss the minimum requirements for eligibility certification. This has been a rather common problem with the migrant people.

HEW and GAO audits and U.S. Office of Education program reviews have consistently found problems in establishing the eligibility of a child to particpate in a migrant education program. There is little agreement about what constitutes minimum requirements for eligibility certification.

While it is agreed that each State should be responsible for developing forms to be used in its program, it is recognized that there is a need for the basic information relating to statutory requirements to be the same.

I would suggest that the Office of Education be instructed to clarify this and to provide each of the States with the minimum eligibility requirements for certification for children to participate in the program.

The next point I would like to speak to is parental consent for the formerly migratory child. At the current time it is necessary to secure a parental signature for each child that will participate in the program under the five-year eligibility clause. This is very time consuming. It is very expensive to send the recruiters out to the homes and secure the signature. The child cannot receive the supplemental educational services until his eligibility has been established.

I think that the best interest of the child would be to eliminate this clause. It is the school officials' responsibility to certify the eligibility of each of these children and not the parent, so I would strongly support that we eliminate the requirement for parental signature for certification purposes. This is in our interim regulations, 116d.35. It spells out the specifics that we do need to secure a signature annually for children to participate in this program.

Next I would like to support Mr. Conyers' point of view in relationship of crew leader serving the teenage migrant workers.

Mr. FORD. I know we were going to hold questions until later, but that language was written in the bill for a specific reason. This is the first time it has ever been called to my attention, that this presents an in time dating barrier.

Is there something in the regulations promulgated by OE that tells you that the only way you can have the concurrence of the parent is to get their signature on a form?

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; 1160.35 spells out specifically that we must secure parental signature for all five-year eligible migrants.

Mr. FORD. Do you interpret that to mean that the child is not eligible for the program until you have an advanced signature from the parent?

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.

Mr. FORD. There are some parents who aren't the easiest in the world to get to sign their name to anything.

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.

Mr. FORD. For whatever it is worth, I would like to say to you that the reason the language is structured that way is because of a particular concern expressed to us. I hope the sensitivity that we showed as a result of a concern of whether or not some people might believe that their child was stigmatized by being identified once they had settled in the community with no intent of returning to the migrant stream.

The concern was that parents who did not want their child to be so identified would avoid having the child identified as participating in a program that causes the children to walk through a door labeled "Migrant Children Enter Here."

Maybe we could arrange a system with the Office of Education whereby the parents would be notified that unless they had an objection their child would be categorized as a migrant. In the interim he or she would not be kept out of school while officials were waiting for a signature.

I can think of all kinds of reasons why parents would be relucatant to sign and if, in fact, the Office of Education is requiring the parent to sign, it is not at all consistent with the concerns we expressed regarding imposing a further burden on the parent in terms of some deliberate act on their part that stipulated “My child is different because we were formerly migrant workers." That seems to me to be something we probably could correct in the regulations.

Mr. DE LA ROSA. May I comment on that?
Mr. FORD. Yes.

Mr. DE LA ROSA. I think part of the problem is the defensive posture which some critics of the migrant program have placed on the OE program. I am not here to defend OE, but one of the problems is that people are accusing some of the States, or maybe all of the States, of loading the computer and that we have children on there that really aren't migrants, and so we have all been looking for a system or method of assuring that every migrant or every student that is enrolled in the migrant system is indeed a migrant; and so I believe that that is basically the basis on which we began to develop a system to assure that no child placed on the computer would be nonmigrant and therefore fend off the critics that are saying you are just loading the system with names and students out there that aren't true migrants, and you just want the money.

I believe that that is basically one of the elements that we have been fighting, and so out of this emanated some kind of a need to validate student eligibility.

Some of us have talked about parents' signatures. Others have talked about school officials validating the migrant status of the student, so that if GAO were to come in and audit the MSRTS and try to trace the children back to the States to determine their eligibility, they would find documented evidence the children are indeed migrant children students.

Mr. FORD. I am somewhat familiar with the mental block that existed in the Office of Education with regard to this program and the resentment that was shown over the fact that we provided for mandatory funding of five-year migrant students in 1974. Having recommended against that, there were administrators in OE who believed that the way to accomplish what was not accomplished legislatively was to drag their feet.

We discovered that it virtually took threats by this committee to get the Office of Education-and I am not talking about the people directly involved in administering the programs, but the people at the policy level-to proceed. I have a feeling, however, that under the new Commissioner of Education, that attitude if it still exists, will be rooted out, including the people who are responsible for it who, in my opinion, should be given a choice of either administering the program the way we wrote it, or finding a new job.

I don't want to make a speech at this point, but my patience with the people over there who have chosen to ignore and try to restructure the intent of Congress after we spent many hours and weeks-sometimes years-getting to a particular point, has been exhausted and I think that feeling is shared by other members of this committee.

We now have a Commissioner who is accessible and reasonable and who has indicated the willingness to cut whatever red tape is necessary to make these programs do what they were intended to do. He already has demonstrated several times in the short time that he has been here his willingness to "slay the sacred cow", if that is what is necessary, to get it off the road and out of the way

of kids getting an education regardless of which program it is.

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Thank you, sir.

The next topic I would like to speak to is the relationship of crew leader to the teenage migrant worker. This is similar to the comment that Mr. Conyers shared, that in North Carolina during the summer months crew leaders bring teenage migrants to North Carolina to work on the tobacco crops. Many of these are dropouts from school. Many of them are enrolled in school. But we found that these are the most educationally, economically and socially deprived children in our society. They need the services of the educational program.

Because of the recent ruling of the Office of Education in defining "guardian”, the crew leader can no longer serve as a guardian for these children; therefore, they are being deprived of this service, and I am wondering if it was the intent of Congress that these children that come to work in the crops during the summer with the crew leader, if it was the intent of Congress to provide them educational services.

I would like to call it to your attention. You may want to reexamine that to see if the program is being administered according to your intent.

The next item would be full funding for migrant education. Migrant education has had tremendous success in North Carolina. We are very proud of the accomplishments of this. We think that the program deserves full funding.

Migrant children move often, making it impossible for the local educational agencies to plan adequately for their needs. Some of these children are also eligible for Title I services, but in the Title I program, the regulatr Title I program, the funds are not adequate to meet the total needs of these children. So, naturally, there is a priority list. Children are on waiting lists. Migrant children come in late. They are placed on a waiting list and before they get up to their priority time it is time for them to move; therefore, they are deprived from the regular Title I services. So, therefore, when we can provide programs immediately with migrant funds, then services can be provided for these children.

So I support the full funding for the migrant education program as it has been in the past.

The next comment is relating to the operation of the migrant student record transfer system. It has been our best means of providing program continuity . We are very proud of the accomplishments that hae been made and of the studies that are now underway to upgrade the services in the reading, the math, the management information system.

We think that it is the best means for determining the funding level for our program, so we support the continuation of the Migrant Student Record Transfer System.

Next I would like to speak with you about the support for the formerly migratory children amendment. This has meant a lot to us, to have this to provide the services for a period of five years.

We have found that when you are working with educationally deprived children their deprivation cannot be removed in one year. You need a continuous program that can zero in on their needs that have been assessed and plan programs over an extended period of years to help them be competitive with other childen that are nonmigrants.

So it is necessary to continue with the formerly migratory children and to continue to serve them, if it is five years or six years, and we would like for that to be defined, too, sir, if it could.

The next point I would like to speak to is determination of SEA administrative costs. Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a State educational agency is allowed one percent of the allocation to cover administrative costs. This allocation is not adequate to carry out the administrative requirements mandated in the migrant education regulations.

In the migrant education program the State educational agency has responsibilities which are parallel to those at the local educational agency. Additional requirements are imposed on the State eductional agency for recordkeeping, reporting interstate coordination, interagency coordination and program continuity that require additional funds.

I would like to propose that when the State educational agency submits their annual plan to the Office of Education that they put in there what costs are necessary in order to administer the program and that the Office of Education review these, and if they find that it is reasonable and justifiable, then they would approve it and that amount of funds would be allocated to the State to administer the program.

This is similar to the way in which a State eduction agency reviews and approves expenditures for the local educational agencies to carry out their administrative responsibility.

Next I would like to speak to deletion of the semiannual performance and financial reports.

Mr. FORD. Excuse me for interrupting you.

Are you aware that last Monday, October 3, 1977, the Commissioner of Education issued an order that limited all programs to one annual report until such time as those responsible for the program can prove to him that more than one annual report is required?

We put his announcement in the Congressional Record on October 6 and we will be glad to provide you with a copy.

The issue that you will address next, the Commissioner has already anticipated for you and it may be very difficult to convince him that more than one report encompassing both performance and financial aspects is necessary. You are now talking about four; that is, the annual monitoring visit, the annual performance and financial reports and the annual evaluation report. At the same time, Mr. Boyer believes one, instead of the four you mentioned, is sufficient.

In our conversations with him, he has indicated that he has very strong feelings about relaxing this rule and anybody who wants more reports is going to have a hard time proving that they should have them.

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Thank you, sir. You have summarized that topic for me. I appreciate it.

Mr. FORD. At this point,I have to give the Office of Education credit where credit is due. Once in a while they do get ahead of the world and do the right thing.

Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. My next topic pertains to paperwork or administrative requirements being imposed on projects. Specifically I'd like to address the deletion of the requirement to submit copies of approved project amendments to the Office of Education.

The State educational agency is required to submit to the Office of Education copies of all local projects, project applications and all local amendments. This is in Section 116d.6. We think that this is a responsibility of State educational agencies when we sign the assurances and we accept the grant to administer the program.

The Office of Education, through this requirement, has no authority to disapprove the project or amendment that we approve at the local, nor to modify it, so we think it is an infringement on the State's rights to operate the program, with the excessive cost and paper work, to submit copies of our projections and amendments to the Office of Education for the operation of our program. So I suggest that we discontinue the requirement to submit local educational agency amendments and projects to the Office of Education.

That completes my testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Youngblood follows:)

« PreviousContinue »