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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

May 15, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: SED Agrees to Improve Oversight of Migrant Education Program

The State Education Department (SED) has agreed to update its Migrant Education Program and better monitor migrant student performance after an audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found the program did not meet several of its goals in 2012 and 2013.

“The children of migrant workers face enormous challenges and obstacles in their educations, including poverty and cultural and language barriers,” DiNapoli said. “After looking at the state’s program, my auditors made several recommendations to improve the educational outcomes for these children. To its credit, SED is acting on our suggestions to ensure more migrant children are attaining the educational goals set forth under federal law.”

DiNapoli’s office launched the audit after reviewing a request from Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, chairman of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.

“Many migrant students struggle to achieve important educational goals such as meeting standards in math or English or graduating from high school,” Crespo said. “Better monitoring of the Migrant Education Program by the State Education Department is needed to ensure these students are making the grade. I would like to thank Comptroller DiNapoli for conducting this audit and making recommendations to tackle the problems found.”

The Migrant Education Program is a federal grant program authorized by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Migrant children include anyone between 3 and 21 years old whose parents, guardians, or spouses – or the children themselves – are agricultural workers who have moved between school districts within the past three years to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in the agricultural or fishing industries. Annually, about 5,400 migrant children receive program services statewide.

SED has established contracts for nine regional Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services (METS) programs whose staff are charged with delivering individualized academic and advocacy services to migrant students to address their special needs.

DiNapoli’s auditors found, however, that for the 2012 and 2013, 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, the graduation rate was 40 percent for migrant students, which was well below the 69 percent for economically disadvantaged students. In addition, migrant students were less proficient in English and mathematics than other economically disadvantaged students.

Auditors found SED did not complete all federally required guidance documents necessary to establish program goals in a timely manner, monitor METS operations, and measure performance. A significant portion of METS staff also face difficulties obtaining data from school districts about their migrant students.

DiNapoli recommended SED:

  • Take steps to expedite the required update to the Migrant Education Program and complete future programmatic updates in a timely fashion;
  • Develop methods to periodically provide evaluation results both at the METS level and program-wide to monitor performance against established goals; and
  • Establish a method to facilitate the timely exchange of information between METS and school districts.

SED agreed with the recommendations and indicated steps it will take to implement them. See the audit: Selected Aspects of the Migrant Education Program or go to: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093015/14s48.pdf


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