Language, Literacy, and Educational Backgrounds of Parents from MSHS-Eligible Households: Findings from the 2012-2016 National Agricultural Workers Survey

Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Language, Literacy, and Educational Backgrounds of Parents from MSHS-Eligible Households Cover

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Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What are the language, literacy, and educational backgrounds of MSHS-eligible families?

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs provide child development services to migrant and seasonally laboring families while parents engage in difficult and often dangerous agricultural work. Just like other Head Start programs, MSHS programs offer services including medical and dental care, nutritional services, and mental health services. These briefs describe all MSHS-eligible families, including both those who have received MSHS services and those who have not.

Purpose

The purpose of this brief is to describe the language, literacy, and educational backgrounds of MSHS-eligible families.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Most parents in MSHS-eligible households (89%) speak Spanish as their dominant language.
  • A third (33%) of parents in MSHS-eligible households speak no English and nearly half (47%) are unable to read in English.
  • Nearly half of parents in MSHS-eligible households (44%) do not attend school beyond the 6th grade and less than a quarter (22%) of parents complete high school.

Methods

This brief uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration 2012-2016 National Agricultural Worker Survey (NAWS). The NAWS collects data annually on a national random sample of crop farmworkers in the continental United States (U.S.). See https://www.doleta.gov/naws for more information about methods, measures and reports from the NAWS.

Families described in this brief as MSHS- eligible include a subsample of the full NAWS sample that have (1) at least one child under the age of six, (2) more than 50 percent of their income earned from agricultural work, and (3) a total income below 100 percent of the federal poverty level for their household size.

Recommendations

Information about MSHS-eligible families may inform decisions related to family needs, risks, and resources. 

Citation

Malin, J. (2019). Language, Literacy, and Educational Backgrounds of Parents from MSHS-Eligible Households: Findings from the 2012-2016 National Agricultural Workers Survey, OPRE Report #2019-44, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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