Organizations Form Advisory Coalition to Boost Their Voices in Support of Military-Connected Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 28, 2019) – Today, a group of the nation’s top military family organizations announced the formation of an advisory coalition to provide policymakers with insights about the unique educational needs of the 1.2 million military-connected children and offer concrete recommendations on how to meet those needs.

The Coalition for Military-Connected Student Success will provide advice and counsel to leaders at the U.S. Department of Education, uniformed and civilian senior leaders of the military services, members of Congress, state-level education officials, and service members and their spouses.

On average, military families move every two to three years, which can greatly impact a child’s K–12 education journey. Military-connected students face challenges associated with inconsistent education standards – they often are playing catch up to grade level in a new state or are struggling to sit through material they’ve already learned. In addition, the highly mobile nature of military life can impact the social and emotional aspects of military-connected students’ school experiences.

“Military-connected students and their families deserve educational options that move them forward and shape their tomorrows with great positive impact. They are an important element of our nation’s future and by current service-related data, a vital element of coming military readiness. This group understands this intimately,” said Christi Ham, military spouse and Chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards.

The coalition is currently comprised of The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA); Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC); Military Families for High Standards (MFHS); Military Impacted Schools Association (MISA); National Association for Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS); National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI); and National Military Family Association (NMFA).

“Military families consistently tell us that the quality of their children’s education is one of their greatest concerns. They worry that their military service will affect their children’s academic outcomes. No parent should have that concern – especially one who is sacrificing to serve our country. While many improvements have been made, much remains to be done to ensure that military-connected kids receive the best possible education regardless of where their parents are stationed. We’re proud to partner with the other members of the Coalition to provide information and advice to policymakers to help them create policies to support military-connected children and families,” said Joyce Raezer, NMFA Executive Director.

The members share a commitment to addressing education continuity and access issues associated with military-connected students including:

  • Championing rigorous education standards and access to high-quality education in public schools attended by military-connected children;
  • Encouraging full funding of Impact Aid – the federal government’s program for reimbursing school districts for a loss of local tax revenue – and the main means by which the federal government supports schools serving military-connected children;
  • Advocating for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which has been adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Raising awareness of issues faced by military- and veteran-connected children in the curricula of institutions of higher learning to help better prepare future teachers and other youth-serving professionals in identifying and responding to their needs;
  • Raising awareness about the importance of the Military Student Identifier required by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law mandates that states collect information about military-connected students’ assessment results as a distinct subgroup in order to better shape policies and direct resources; and
  • Highlighting effective practices, worthy of replication, that have been adopted by school districts and military installations to support military-connected children and families through school transitions and throughout their education journey.

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