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1/11/2018 EDUCATION - Helping Migrant Students Beat the Odds in School - 1/4 Search All EDUCATION EDUCATION; Helping Migrant Students Beat the Odds in School By SUSAN CHIRA, Special to The New York Times Published: April 25, 1990 PARLIER, Calif., April 18— All her life, Christina Garza has worn the path between this small agricultural town and Texas, moving with her parents and the crops. From April until October, her parents thin peaches and pick grapes here, near the city of Fresno. When night school is available, Christina, who is 18 years old, works in the field from 6:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., dashing home for a shower and five hours of school. In California, Christina studies from one set of textbooks under one group of teachers with one set of friends. In the fall, another harvesting season beckons in Texas - along with another set of textbooks, another group of teachers, and schools that do not honor the independent-study program California offers to help her make up missed credits. Christina is one of the lucky migrant students who have managed, through hard work and help from special state programs, to excel in school and aim for college. But educating the 168,000 children of migrant workers in California (nearly a third of the estimated half a million such students nationally) poses a formidable challenge. Most come to school from Spanish-speaking homes, and lag behind in English. Many face pressure to stay home to care for younger children, or to work to bring home more money for families in desperate need. Many of their parents are too exhausted after long work days to deal with teachers, or are wary of communication with school officials. Measuring the Problems Statistics are hard to come by because migrant children change schools so often, although a computerized transcript service in Little Rock, Ark., is helping to keep track of their performance. Robert Welty, a consultant in California's migrant education office, said 78 percent of California's migrant schoolchildren had limited English abilities in kindergarten. The rate improves slightly by senior year of high school, when 49 percent still have trouble with English. MOST EMAILED RECOMMENDED FOR YOU Log in to discover more articles based on what you‘ve read. What’s This? | Don’t Show 1. What Can’t You Send to an Inmate in New York? Apples, Used Books and More 2. Melania Trump Hires Policy Director Amid Scrutiny From New Book 3. F.Y.I.
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