Robstown ISD numbers drop in migrant education program

ROBSTOWN, Texas – The Migrant Education Program is a law that is meant to aid migrant families or students who are 22-years-old and younger.

Those who migrate across the country for work in agriculture and fishing often have gaps in education and can fall behind.

These essential workers are then provided with a free lunch program, housing and medical assistance, tutoring, school supplies and clothes.

More than 11,000 people live in Robstown, Texas, which is about 20 miles west of Corpus Christi.

Dr. Jose Moreno is the school district’s superintendent. He said the lack of growth is impacting the schools.

“In the town of Robstown,” he said. “There’s not as much growth as far as new housing.”

Robstown ISD went from seven schools down to five.

“The reason we consolidated it is because our enrollment is not as high as what it used to be 15 to 20 years ago,” Moreno said.

The schools are nestled in between farmland and are known for cotton fields which have been drawn in migrant families from across the country.

“But from 1910 around to now, times have changed quite a bit as far as the need for migrant workers,” Moreno said.

The Migrant Education Program is crucial in assisting migrant families who work in the agricultural and fishing industries.

“In seven years you see quite a bit of a difference,” he said.

That’s because in 2015 the district had identified 250 migrant students. Today there are just three students in the program.

Dr. Jesse Naranjo is a data technician for the Migrant Education Program at the Education Service Center for Region 2.

“Sometimes these children may fall behind,” Naranjo said. “They may need some assistance in staying educated and staying up-to-date.”

The Education Service Center for Region 2 is made up of 11 counties. There are about 400 migrant students in the entire program.

“Yes, it has dwindled that is a fact,” Naranjo said. “But why? There could be many reasons. ”

Outside of a lack of growth, Moreno has another theory.

“Technology has really advanced within that time period,” he said.

He adds that machinery has replaced the need for physical labor.

“It’s not the same need for hand-to-hand labor to pick,” Moreno said.

He encourages migrant families to seek out the program

“Ultimately, in public school systems, our job as educators is to provide an education for all children,” Moreno said.

Corpus Christi ISD has identified 245 migrant families within their district.

So far, 197 students have enrolled this school year.

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