Migrant student tracking sought

"Request for information about a Migrant Student Information Exchange System"

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Education Department officials are seeking ideas for exchanging data about migrant students whose frequent moves have frustrated student-recordkeeping efforts.

Education officials will meet with companies Dec. 21 to present information about the government's migrant education program and the need for exchanging migrant student records. The children of migrants are at a disadvantage because of frequent moves and, consequently, their incomplete student records.

The program provides services to the children of families who migrate to find work in the agricultural, fishing and timber industries.

But with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, lawmakers required Education officials to work with the states to develop a nationwide electronic system for exchanging migrant student records and to account for the number of migrant children in each state.

Education officials seek technical information about using unique personal identifiers for student records in a nationwide system that would protect the students' privacy, according to a Dec. 3 FedBizOpps notice. Access to the system would be through a Web browser.

The greatest barriers to exchanging migrant student records in the past have been nontechnical, department officials said, including a lack of federal incentives for ensuring the states' cooperation.

The notice, updated Dec. 9, is the second request for information about a migrant student information exchange system that department officials have published this year. An earlier notice was published in April.

Vendors must respond to the new request for information by Jan. 14, 2005.

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