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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State Education Department
Selected Aspects of the Migrant Education Program


Issued: May 15, 2015
Link to full audit report 2014-S-48
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the State Education Department (Department) properly oversees the Migrant Education Program (Program) to ensure that it complies with all requirements and achieves its program goals.

Background
The Migrant Education Program (Program) is a federal grant program authorized by the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. A migrant child is anyone between 3 and 21 years old whose parent, guardian, or spouse – or the child him- or herself – is a migratory agricultural worker or fisher, and who has moved between school districts within the past three years to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in an agricultural or fishing activity as a principal means of livelihood. The Program’s goals are to ensure that all eligible students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma (or its equivalency), and/or participate in life skills as well as career education services and, to the extent practicable, successfully complete vocational instruction to college occupational programs. The Department is responsible for administering the program and ensuring the intended goals are met. To meet this obligation, the Department contracted for five State University of New York (SUNY) campuses and four Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) to establish the Migrant Education Tutorial Services (METS) program teams, which deliver supplemental academic and advocacy services to migrant children throughout the State. SUNY campuses also operate three statewide resource centers devoted to the Program.

Key Findings

  • For the 2012 and 2013 program years, the Program failed to meet three of ten measurable performance outcomes and three of seven broader Program goals. For example, one Program goal is to have all migrant students who have been enrolled in a school in New York since the ninth grade earn a high school diploma at the same rate as children in the “economically disadvantaged” subgroup of students. For 2013, however, the graduation rate was 40 percent for migrant students, but 69 percent for a similar group of economically disadvantaged students. In addition, migrant students were less proficient in English and mathematics than other economically disadvantaged students.
  • The Department did not complete in a timely manner all federally required guidance documents necessary to establish Program goals, monitor METS operations, and measure performance. These delays, in turn, hampered the availability of timely and relevant performance data that managers should have to effectively oversee the Program.
  • A significant portion of METS staff face challenges obtaining student performance data due to a lack of linkages with public schools. This data is necessary to monitor and evaluate student performance, as well as to adjust services as needed.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop methods to periodically provide evaluation results both at the METS level and Programwide to monitor performance against established goals.
  • Establish a method to facilitate the exchange of information between METS programs and school districts.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest

State Education Department: Compliance With the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (2013-S-71)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236