Education officials hope for migrant student info exchange

Report to Congress on Education of Migratory Children

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Education Department officials plan to create a national information exchange system for migrant students in an attempt to fix the long-standing problem of accounting for them.

In 1995, the department stopped maintaining a centralized record transfer system for migrant students because local education officials were not using the system, department officials said.

But with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Congress required the department to work with the states on developing an electronic system for exchanging migrant student records and accounting for the number of migrant children in each state.

The Migrant Education Office has set April 26 as the deadline for proposals from vendors who can assist in developing a contract solicitation for the new system. Education officials are seeking companies with experience in planning acquisitions for software development projects in excess of $1 million.

States will be given six months notice to prepare their systems for collecting any new data elements that may be required for the exchange system, according to documents describing the project. Department officials said they expect to issue that official notice sometime after Oct. 1 this year.

A technical architecture for sharing electronic records is one of many technical details that must be agreed on. However, the greatest barriers to be overcome in exchanging migrant student records remain nontechnical ones, including the lack of federal incentives for ensuring state cooperation, department officials said in a report titled "Education of Migratory Children."

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