Human Agenda, the Center for Farmworker Families, and the Food Empowerment Project met with four leaders in the Office of Migrant Services (OMS) of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on Friday, July 18 to promote a regulatory change to the “50-mile rule”. The rule requires that migrant farmworkers in 24 migrant labor centers in California move 50 miles away in the off-season, radically disrupting the education of their children from November to May each academic year.
Human Agenda has received a grant from the Castellanos Family Foundation to conduct research and change the rule. We want to exempt parents with children in school from the 50-mile rule, allowing them to live locally so their children can remain in their same schools and achieve academic success.
Based on the stellar work of Human Agenda intern Celeste Enriquez, who trained and led over 50 volunteers to conduct a survey in the four largest labor camps in the state, Human Agenda and allies are creating the statistical basis and conducting the necessary research to demonstrate the need for creating the exemption. We will soon need your advocacy to support a change in the administrative rule that is one of a kind: no other group in the State of California to such an educational limitation.
At the July 18 meeting in Sacramento Human Agenda intern Armando Catalan presented existing quantitative data on the need for the change, and the work plan to engage in qualitative research this summer, e.g. seeking testimony from teachers who see the impacts of their fourth grade students having to abandon the classroom from early November to early May. Dr. Julie Solomon, the Secretary of Human Agenda, provided an overview of the research conducted by Human Agenda to date, with the data to be entered and cleaned in the next couple of weeks before final analysis is conducted. Dr. Ann Lopez, the Executive Director of the Center for Farmworker Families, presented the educational findings from her book The Farmworkers Journey that support a change in the 50-mile rule. Lauren Ornelas, founder and director of the Food Empowerment Project, argued for the need to improve the education, housing, and diet of farmworker children. Richard Hobbs, Executive Director of Human Agenda, presented the purpose and goals of the Migrant Farmworker Children’s Education Project.
To volunteer for this critical work please contact Armando Catalan at firstname.lastname@example.org.