August 25, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Issues Guidance to Schools on Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
SACRAMENTO—Setting aside $3.5 million in federal funding to assist schools that see an increase in unaccompanied immigrant children this school year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today advised school districts of their obligation to serve every child in California regardless of where they come from or where they were born.
"We don't make immigration policy in our classrooms; we help every child who comes through our doors," Torlakson said. "With our help and support, I am confident that California's schools will be able to provide a safe haven for children waiting for authorities to reunite them with their families."
Torlakson said the $3.5 million represents federal Title III funds to help school districts that may have experienced a significant increase in immigrant students. The funds may be used for improving instruction, providing tutoring and intensified instruction, and conducting community participation programs. School districts are eligible when data demonstrate a growth of 3 percent in the qualifying student population as compared to the average of the two previous years.
To receive funding, school districts submit a plan for a quality supplemental program to help these children, and then apply for the Title III Immigrant funding. The application for funds may provide about $94 per immigrant student. However, this funding does not distinguish between those students who enter the United States accompanied or unaccompanied. So far, the demand for Title III Immigrant funds has not increased in California. For more information on this program, funding, and application, visit the California Department of Education's (CDE) Title III Immigrant Education Program Web page.
CDE receives and distributes funds from several federal programs to supplement existing programs designed to assist immigrant children, whether they enter the United States accompanied or unaccompanied. These services include:
- Services for educationally disadvantaged children (Title I, Part A);
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
- English language acquisition programs (Title III);
- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act; and
- Migrant education programs (Title I, Part C).
Other assistance is available directly from the federal government. The United States Department of Education outlined assistance to help schools welcome immigrant children through its fact sheet on Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States [http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/unaccompanied-children.html] .
The CDE also administers several other state and federal education programs to assist immigrant children as well as other disadvantaged children in the general student population. These programs include assistance in nutrition, before and after school activities, health, early education, English learners, and more. For more information visit the CDE's Learning Support and Specialized Programs Web pages. Use of these programs would be locally determined based on their schools' and communities' analysis of need.