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Texas Education Agency Not Sure What To Do With Immigrant Children

Texas Education Agency

Following a surge of Central American minors crossing  into the United States illegally, the state of Texas is attempting to figure out what to do about their education. 

A 1982 Supreme Court ruing mandated that all states would be required to provide an education to migrant children regardless of legal status. With the recent increase of Central American children, the  Texas Education Agency is not sure what to do.

“It’s really hard to tell at this point, because these children may disperse all over the state so there may be no district that has more than two or three, or our valley schools may end up with hundreds or thousands," said Debbie Graves, a TEA spokeswoman.

Graves said there has been no directive made to schools about the children’s registration or enrollment but it’s possible the same decisions during Hurricane Katrina could be made.

During Hurricane Katrina, children relocated to Texas were given homeless student status which allowed districts more access to federal funding, she said.

Northside ISD, the city’s largest school district, has already been providing education to migrant children at the Baptist Children’s Shelter, which houses many immigrant minors. When the school year starts, the district is not expecting to receive many more migrants.

“We certainly will provide all the educational services that we can that wind up in our system," Northside ISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez says.

The district has, however, asked the state for leniency when it comes to state exams and accountability.

“We certainly cannot vouch for the education they’ve received to date so we have to put in place a mechanism so that schools are not hurt with lower test scores," Gonzales said.

During Hurricane Katrina, the TEA did offer an exam deferment. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules