Permanent relocations of military families often create significant inconsistencies in the classroom for young children, who move far more often than their peers. A new campaign by the National Military Family Association highlights these issues—while arming families with information.
When parents serve in the military, their families often make big sacrifices in support of their service to the country.
Particularly affected are the children of those who serve, who often find themselves dealing with the stress of deployment and constant relocation, which can make their education difficult in ways that many adults don’t struggle with.
Realizing the stress that military service can have on children, the National Military Family Association launched a new campaign called “Education Revolution: Their Right, Our Fight,” which aims to draw attention to the sacrifices that families often make and how differences between school districts can create challenges for families, students, and others.
In a blog post, NMFA writer MJ Boice points out that children connected to the military move three times as often as their peers, and this often creates issues due to differences in curriculum, school requirements, and grade levels.
“Because academic standards aren’t consistent when traveling across state lines, parents of military kids are forced to fill this gap,” Boice writes in her post. “Otherwise, their child may be significantly ahead of or behind their peers.”
NMFA’s campaign features a series of videos that show the impact that military moves can have on children, such as the clip above of the Duenas family, whose daughter had done so well at her prior school that she was put into the next grade automatically in her new one. However, she struggled in her new environment, leading her parents to decide to put her back a year.
The campaign, which the association has tied to the Month of the Military Child, also makes available resources for military parents facing a permanent change of station, including checklists for parents and tips for preparing children for the changes they might face due to the relocation.
In addition, the campaing includes an advocacy element that pushes for stronger, more consistent standards, so that when children change districts in different states, the standards are consistent and lead to better outcomes. While all states have signed on to the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, an agreement designed to ease school transfers for military children, parents still need to understand how the process works.
In a news release, NFMA Executive Director Joyce Raezer argued that inconsistencies can often have a serious impact on children if not handled properly.
“Military children sacrifice in extraordinary ways because of their parent’s service to our nation,” Raezer explained. “Their education should not be a battle, and it should not be collateral damage in the fight for more consistent education standards. We are hopeful the Education Revolution campaign will show parents that their child’s education is a battle they can win—and we’re on their side to help them with each victory.”