Changing schools can be a huge ordeal for military families and military children. Education curriculum and education requirements can vary tremendously between states and between school districts.
For those reasons the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is very important. Find out if this issue is being addressed in your state.
Twenty-five states are considering introducing the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children this year. Interstate Compacts are intended to facilitate a more uniformed approach between states on specific local and state issues. Interstate Compacts become active when 10 or more states adopt the proposed language. This particular compact focuses on military children transferring between school districts and states, and recognizes that no matter how supportive states are of military children they can only control what happens within their borders. By joining together with other states in the compact, each state can help ensure that children have the educational opportunities they deserve even after they move to another state.
States considering this important compact are: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Several of these states have filed bills to enact the Interstate Compact and more are expected within the month. In addition, Committee hearings are anticipated to be scheduled soon since many legislatures are in short sessions. Those states not in session in 2008 are: Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.
NMFA is pleased to have been a member of both the Advisory Group and Drafting Team, and looks forward to the compact becoming law. We urge you to help in this process by contacting your local member of the state legislature. For more information and to track the progress of the compact, go to: http://www.csg.org/programs/ncic/EducatingMilitaryChildrenCompact.aspx.
Kansas and Kentucky enacted a the Compact on Education Transition for Military Children into law, which will ease the transition for military children as their servicemember-parents move from assignment to assignment during their careers. Twenty-one other states are also considering the measure. Adoption in 10 states would make the compact operational. States that sign on will agree to work collectively with other compact states to create uniform standards of practice on the transfer of records and other transition issues. For more information on the Compact on Education Transition for Military Children, visit The Council of State Governments website.
Military families won an enormous victory last week when Delaware became the tenth critical state to adopt The Interstate Compact for Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The first state to adopt the compact was Kansas exactly three months ago in April. Since then, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Oklahoma have all signed on to the compact. The compact is now activated in these 10 states that have adopted it, and for other states that subsequently join.
Developed by the Council of State Governments, Department of Defense, and education and military family experts, the compact addresses common problems that affect military students as a result of frequent moves and deployments. States that sign on to the compact agree to work collectively with other compact states to create uniform standards of practice regarding: the transfer of records; course placement; graduation requirements; redundant or missed testing; entrance-age variations; and other transition issues.
As a member of both the Advisory Committee and Drafting Team, National Military Family Association (NMFA) has actively supported the adoption of this compact from its beginning. Military families have long needed the support of individual states during the transition process; whether transferring within a state, from state to state, or from an overseas location. NMFA firmly believes, that in order for families to have smoother transitions, each state must become a better "receiving" state as well as "sending" state.
While this is a huge victory, there is still work to be done. Families living in states that have not adopted the compact should contact their local legislator and ask them to support this initiative. Visit the NMFA website at: www.nmfa.org/interstatecompact for information about the effort. With the compact's activation, several administrative actions will take place in the next few months to make it operational, including the appointment of commissioners and the development of writing rules.
With approximately 1.5 million children of military families attending schools, other than those sponsored by the Department of Defense, NMFA applauds these ten states for leading the way to alleviate some of the many challenges our military children face when moving.