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You Can Comment on New Education Compact Rules

Officials have proposed some updated rules for a compact between states and the federal government that makes it easier for military kids to change schools -- and you can comment.

The education compact, or Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as it is officially known, contains a set of policies that are aimed at making it easier for military kids to transition into new schools and graduate on time. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed the compact with the Defense Department, with the aim of abiding by the policies the compact lays out. This is a really good rundown of exactly what the compact covers if you're curious.

The newly proposed policies, published in the Federal Register in early March, look to do a few pretty straight forward things. And thanks to administrative procedure laws, you have an opportunity to add your two cents in the form of a comment.

First, the rules would appoint a Defense Department official to each state's education compact committee, which is tasked with making sure the compact is doing what it was meant for. The DoD appointees, a job that will be split between all the services nationwide with one representative in each state, will help support the compact from a DoD perspective while providing feedback between the state and the Pentagon, said Marcus Beauregard, who heads the DoD State Liaison office. The rules simply help make sure the services know how to appoint one.

"The purpose of this whole effort is to make sure that the department is doing in fact what it can to support this compact," he said. "Having a  document that instructions the military departments how and when they need to designate someone for state council is what we can do and what we need to do."

Next, the rules put in writing some policies that are already in practice in Defense Department Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. DoDEA cannot be a member of the compact, but it can comply with it as if it were -- and that's exactly what it's been doing. The proposed rules just put that compliance in writing, Beauregard said.

You can submit an official comment for the record on the rules any time before May 6, when commenting closes. To do that you must visit the Federal Rulemaking Portal and follow the instructions on submitting comments. You can see the proposed rules here. And submitted comments will be available for public viewing here.

But will commenting make a difference? Yes, says Beauregard.

"It's a process where the comments are genuinely reviewed and considered as part of the process," he said.

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