Deloitte to build migrant student database

The Education Department has awarded a contract to Deloitte Consulting to create a national database to track the educational history of migrant workers’ children, whose school records are often incomplete or missing because their families move frequently from one school district to another.

The five-year Migrant Student Information Exchange contract is valued at about $14 million, said Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw. He said the contract is for one base year and four option years.

Deloitte will provide information technology services, including telecommunications. Company spokesman David Thompson said Deloitte normally does not publicly discuss contract details.

The exchange falls under the auspices of Education’s Office of Migrant Education, which also administers Title I funds to school districts with large numbers of poor and migrant students.

OME issued a request for proposals in June. The award was announced Oct. 3.

The landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 calls for the creation of such a network, which would track all migrant students in grades K-12. State administrators of migrant-worker programs must agree to use 65 common data elements for reporting information. Each student will have a unique identifier to ensure confidentiality.

Current student record exchanges among the states often contain incomplete and out-of-date information. Under the new exchange program, for example, the records of as many as 800,000 elementary and secondary school children of migrant workers — more than half of whom live in California, Florida and Texas — would be accessible to authorized users.

The exchange will aid in the school enrollment process for migrant parents, many of whom speak little or no English.

The exchange will make it easier for school administrators to track all school-age children of migrant families through a consolidated file of up-to-date information about the schools they have attended, the courses taken, grades earned and credits accrued. Student immunization records will also be included.

Education officials say without such a system delays in transferring student records from one school to another often result in children being enrolled in the wrong grade level or at the wrong level of course work, duplication of immunizations and improperly recording or failing to record credits that students need for high school graduation.

Also, the new national database and the unique identifier for each child will aid in tracking whether schools meet the No Child Left Behind Act requirement that all school children are at grade level for math and reading by the 2014 mandate.

“We hope to have the system operational at least at the secondary level by this time next year. The idea is to develop the system from the secondary level on down,” Bradshaw said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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