There are more questions than answers when it comes to student-aged migrants heading to New York public schools this fall.  

Nevertheless, the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) will be ready. 

Jay Worona, NYSSBA’s deputy executive director and general counsel, explained to Capital Tonight that public schools around the country have a constitutional obligation to educate the children of migrants. 

A 1981 case out of Texas called Plyler v. Doe reviewed a Texas law which allowed the state “to withhold from local school districts state funds for educating children of illegal aliens."

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

“The bottom line of this decision is, the Supreme Court said, when children are within our midst, whether they are ‘alien’ children, migrants, etcetera, we have an obligation to educate them,” Worona said. 

But the real-life implications of student-aged migrants attending public schools this fall have yet to be realized.  

“We need to know about numbers. We need to know what their English language issues might be. We need to know what kind of professionals we need to have at the ready to assist us,” Worona said.

To find those answers, NYSSBA will be sending a survey to superintendents around the state asking them for their needs.

“We need to know what the ask is,” he said.