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Mr. FORD. Thank you very much. (Brief recess.) Mr. FORD. We now have Senator Perry from the State of New York. He is appearing as a member of and spokesman for the Education Commission of the States, Interstate Migrant Education Task Force.
Senator, would you like to proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN PERRY, NEW YORK STATE SENATOR
Mr. PERRY. My name is John Perry. I am a New York State Senator from the City of Rochester, upstate New York, and I also represent some four suburban towns outside the City of Rochester.
am a former high school teacher and college teacher; Penfield High School and Rochester Institute of Technology, primarily in the field of economics. I am now a member of the New York State Senate and a member of the Education Committee of the New York State Senate.
But saying all that, I would consider in discussing migrant education I would have to be considered a layman, Mr. Chairman. I am here to represent the task force as to migrant education. The remarks in the record are a consensus statement developed over the last year and a half by the task force. I want to thank you for permitting us to be here and for the opportunity to present testimony on behalf of migrant agricultural workers, migrant fishermen and their children.
This project originated in 1976 and is composed of eight state departments of education-Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Texas and Washington-using Title I migrant education funds to explore critical issues and to develop recommendations and policies that meet the educational needs of migrant children. The project is a milestone because several states have entered into an interstate agreement to jointly bring about increased interstate cooperation.
We feel that the Title I legislation has been very positive in addressing itself to the national nature of the mobile or migrant constituency that it was designed to serve; but, as the program has evolved and matured, we find that we have identified areas that may need to be revised, removed or replaced with new approaches or methods to fully carry out the intent of the law.
The ECS Interstate Migrant Education Task Force submits the following items for your consideration, not in the order of priority, but as items or areas that need to be further discussed in the process of the reauthorization of the migrant education program under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Public Law 89-10), as amended under Public Law 93-380).
What I am submitting to you and the committee are—Joe, you had five recommendations and I have nine.
I will talk about each one of these. I will try to refer to them and then come back to some order.
I would like to say this, though. The Task Force was first organized in August of '76. The last meeting was Seattle, Washington, the past weekend. I would say, we are half way through our
project. Some of the recommendations are rather specific; others rather general. I would hope the committee would later on accept as our Task Force goes through its efforts, that you would accept additional recommendations from us more specific recommendations.
The first recommendation is that we would hope migrant education legislation should remain as part of Title I. The present manner of funding state-operated programs more adequately addresses the fiscal needs of the program. The program dollars follow the child for more direct services.
2. We recommend the continuation of the funding, as presently written in the law, of children ages 5-17, including the 5-year "settled out" migrants.
3. We further recommend the funding of children, as identified and entered in the Migrant Student Record Transfer System (MSRTS) at the 0-5 lower age level and at the 18-21 upper age level, so that subsequently children 0-21, including the 5-year "settled out” children, will be provided better education access.
Presently, the program encompasses and serves the 5-17 age range, but various circumstances-primarily those of economics, with older children needing to contribute to the total income of the family and the interruption of the continuity of the education of the mobile migrant child-hinder the students in attaining or attending higher levels of education above the 8th grade.
Encompassing and providing the additional funds for serving the lower age levels of 0-5 will provide early childhood services that will promote better educational experiences and readiness for entry into school, resulting in more positive learning experiences and retention at the 8th grade level of the migrant child.
The funding of the 18-21 age level, with the utilization of innovative approaches for reaching and retaining this age group, such as the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CĂMP), will further provide educational opportunity for migrant students that will result in alternative choices for their life's work in other than migrant labor.
Essentially, what we are saying is that funds are coming in for age 5 through 17 but because of the particular nature of the migrant child, they don't get all we would like to have them get in a total educational picture. We are losing a few. As will be noticed here the drop-out rate is higher than for children in a normal situation. We need to catch those at some point possibly beyond the age 17. At the same time we believe by providing greater amounts of money for the child and the program we may reduce the drop-out rate.
We would like to catch right now the ones we have missed and at the same time develop programs for the child between 0 and 5.
In line with those recommendations, Recommendation No. 4 recommends we look at certain types of incentive grants. These grants would generate and engender special approaches for providing in-depth needs of the two groups I just alluded to, 0 through 5 and 18 through 21, such as incentive grants being presently used to meet the special needs of handicapped children.
Recommendation No. 5. Special emphasis has to be placed on serving migrant drop-outs. The first step has to be in the prevention of the drop-out. The above recommendations could be the first step toward this prevention. Retention and the continuity of the migrant child's education are the crucial steps toward preventing his or her dropping out of school.
There are some statistics here which any person would intuitively know the in-school level of migrants is 5.3 as to non-migrant and the drop-out rate at the 9th grade is considerably higher and at the 12th grade even greater than that for the non-migrant child.
Once again, the problems of the 0 through 5 and day care type of expenditures, our Recommendation No. 6. The present funding is often expended before serving all the priority categories. Very often, particularly in the larger sending and receiving states, the impaction of "currently migratory children" is so great that "formerly migratory children" or "day care" children cannot be adequately and properly served because there is not enough funding to cover all the eligible children.
I am sure any one of the directors here could give you a statistical breakdown on how much they receive and how little they have left Over.
From Recommendation No. 6, I would like to refer to No. 10 which is more in order than as stated in the testimony. The Title I migrant program has been very successful in carrying out early childhood education, even though children served do not presently generate any funds. As an example of the number of children served, we have asked the Migrant Student Record Transfer System for the following figures for the ECS project member states.
Listed there are various states and the number of children-being a teacher, I always say kids, I am sorry—but the total number is 28,846. In the programs where the moneys have been expended, programs for the preschool children have been successful. What the Task Force on Migrant Education is urging is that these children should get equal priority with the children between ages 5 and 17.
I would like to go back to Recommendation No. 7. Recommendation No. 7 and a couple of the other recommendations refer to the need for coordination and cooperation.
On an interstate basis and on an interagency basis, I must say that this is the area that the people on the national Task Force on Migrant Education take as top priority to utilize the funds that we now have in a better manner, or in the best possible manner-let's put it this way-and see various areas in the relationship between States, between States and the Federal Government, among agencies of the Federal Government and among agencies within States where there should be more cooperation and coordination.
Our final recommendations along this line have not been developed yet but this is our major finding and I am sure that we will have before you sometime in the near future some very specific recommendfations.
So, Recommendation No. 7, interstate and interagency coordination must be emphasized. The national task force, the ECS Task Force project, is an effort toward inceased interstate cooperation. As it has developed and evolved, we have found that the national nature of the mobile migrant demands greater interstate cooperation. The present project States, as well as other States that have formed similar coordinating groups, such as-and they are listed some other groups, need to be helped in their efforts to promote interstate coordination at all levels, on the Federal, on the regional, in the East and the Midwest, and the Midwest streams, and on the State and local level.
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Federal rules and regulations must be supportive of these tasks by facilitating and expediting these efforts by lessening "red tape"-we want red tape lessened here just like in other aspects of government-and paperwork. Technical assistance in the formation of such groups should also be provided. Model formats or procedures should be formulated in order to provide a guide or guidance toward the development of such coordination groups.
This would result in improved cooperation among State education agencies in the administration, planning, implementation, staffing, monitoring and evaluation of the Title 1-migrant program-of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
In relationship to our proposals for coordination, our Recommendation No. 8, the above emphasis of Recommendation 7 on interstate and interagency coordination should be included in the intent section of this legislation when it is reauthorized. These are key elements that must be applied to this program in order to fully carry out the intent of the legislation.
And from there, not to confuse you, I would just jump to Recommendation No. 11. It is the Education Commission's task force recommendation.
We would like to request of this committee that it request of the Assistant Secretary of Education, Dr. Mary F. Berry, the chairperson of the Federal Interagency Committee on Education, FICE, a report on the overall role of the Federal Government on migrant education.
As I understand it, that is an extant group and we would encourage this committee to get that group involved in trying to coordinate all of the various agencies.
Recommendation No. 9, Mr. Chairman, on page 3, when I really look at it, I don't know if it is a recommendation. It is really a justification for the migrant program and I won't read through all the words of those three paragraphs.
I would summarize that recommendation in my own words and say that the migrant education programs of all of the States are really trying to provide a fair shake for the population of migrants who have unique educational characteristics. In a sense, what those three paragraphs are saying is that these people have a right to a minimum standard of quality education just as any other person who attends school on a nine-month basis.
That is the end of my formal testimony, Mr. Chairman, and that is the presentation of the task force testimony.
I would just like to have the opportunity to make some personal comments, if I may.
One of the things that I have understood from just talking to people involved in migrant education and politicians, elected officials, at both the Federal and the State level, is that there does not seem to be a political constituency for the migrant.
Let me just give you some of my experiences, to say that I don't think that is true if the case is presented in the right way.
I have taught economics courses and I used to teach a unit in economics known as Income Distribution, and essentially what I would ask the student to do is to analyze various aspects of problems in America and the incomes that they receive, why they receive them and what might be corrective action from a govenmental level or a social level.
In looking at all of the various groups in America that face poverty problems, in a sense, what I found in middle-class suburbs among students is that they have greater empathy toward the migrant than any other person; and I think that might develop because of the tradition, the work ethic tradition, in America.
The question that is always raised by the middle-class student is, How is it possible for a person such as a migrant to work so hard and end up with so little? If that happens, there must be something wrong with the system. So I would say, also with the tradition in America of public education we have a very large constituency and what we must do is to be able to get our message across to that constituency, and I think that would have very significant support, and I would hope that my appearing here representing a district in New York, as I said at the beginning, that has no migrants living in it at any time, would help to further that cause. The second personal
comment I would like to make is my impressions of the National Task Force on Migrant Education. I am very impressed with it. This is a diversified group of people throughout the United States who have come together to, in a sense, learn about a problem and to attempt to solve that problem.
I think we now consider ourselves advocates or lobbyists on a nationwide basis for migrant and migrant programs, and we will be at your service in the future on any of the recommendations and any of our intelligence or anything we have developed.
The third personal comment that I would like to make is that from my understanding of what is going on in migrant education, there can be some important spinoffs in urban education. I understand that there are schools in New York City, and probably in other larger urban areas similar to New York City, that have 100, 125, 150 percent turnover a year. I don't see how you could operate a school like that with that type of flow of students from one neighborhood to another, all within the City of New York, but these are "migrants” and some of the things that are being done by the migrant directors through the development of basic skills in math and in reading and the relationship of those skills to all of the textbooks in the nation to the computer system in Little Rock, it seems to me that there is a model that can be establishd and used for the City of New York and other major urban areas.
So we are not just dealing with migrant education. I think these people are developing some important projects that are going to affect all education.
I would just conclude by saying this: When we were at our last meeting in Seattle, Governor Castro, who is the former chairman of