“The Compact” is Making It Easier to Educate Our Military Children
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (“the Compact”) is one of the ways we are working to increase the resiliency of our military families and make our military children as successful as possible.
When military families receive orders to relocate, there are a lot of things to consider. Finding a new home and settling into a new community are at the top of nearly every Service member’s list. Military families with school-age children also need to figure out how best to make the transfer to the new school system as smooth as possible. In particular, they may be asking the following questions (and others):
- Will my child be able to enroll in extra-curricular activities?
- Will my child’s records transfer in time to get enrolled into the right classes?
- Will my child be able to get comparable special education services or accommodations in our new location without having to first be tested?
These concerns are exactly what the Compact strives to address. The Compact provides states with common guidelines to follow in handling issues that impact children of military families as they transition between school systems. These issues include records transfers, immunizations, class placements, extra-curricular activities, and graduation requirements among others.
The goal of the Compact is to eliminate the confusion and struggle that often comes with relocation and to implement a uniform policy in every school district in every state that joins the Compact. We recognize that military families, like all families, want a quality education for their children, so it’s important that relocation and deployment do not interfere with that goal.
What does the Compact look like in action in states where it has been adopted? If your current state allows children to start kindergarten at age five, but your new state requires children to wait until six years of age, your child will still be able to continue in kindergarten. If your teenager has completed similar coursework in your current state, your new state can waive certain graduation requirements in order for your teen to graduate on time.
If your child can’t attend cheerleading tryouts because of your move, your new school must facilitate an alternative way to compete for the team. If your child is currently enrolled in special education services or a gifted program, your new school must accept the previous placement until they have enough time to do their own evaluation.
As more and more states adopt the Compact, and as these states implement these changes at the school district level, the easier and smoother it will be for our children to transition between school systems. Forty states have already signed on to the Compact and we expect another five or six states to sign on this year. Already roughly 90 percent of our military children are covered under the Compact!
As the remaining ten states sign on, we will continue to update you on the Compact’s progress. You can find out which states have already signed by visiting http://www.mic3.net. If you have a comment, question, or story to share about the Compact and its impact on your family, please join our discussion.
The DoD recognizes that military families also serve. We are committed to supporting you and want to ensure your children have high quality educational opportunities no matter where your next move takes you. Until next time, be well!