Marine Corps Installations West representatives recently met with state and federal legislative representatives to discuss policy affecting military school-aged children.
The Marine Corps Installations West K-12 State Educators’ Reception is a biannual state-level event including district and county superintendents, state and federal legislative representatives, school board members and area commanders. A similar county-level reception with area superintendents is held every year.
“The event allowed for different stakeholders to learn about the command priorities in terms of education-related legislation that affects military children in the region,” said Kelli May, Regional School Liaison. “It gave everyone a chance to get on the same page and learn about the different pieces of legislation that are out there regarding schools and education.”
The focus of this year’s event was on existing and potential policies within California that affect the children of service members.
An important policy that was discussed at the event is the Military Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children, also referred to as the Interstate Compact or MIC3. Signed into California law in 2010, Arizona law in 2009, and Nevada law in 2013, the Interstate Compact allows for uniform treatment as military children transfer between school districts in member states and deals with the challenges of military children and their frequent relocations. It addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families, including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility, and graduation. The ultimate goal of the Compact is to provide military children with the same opportunities to participate fully in academic and extra-curricular activities that their peers have, and that they can smoothly progress through the grades without delay, ensuring timely graduation and future success.
“Marines and their families experience frequent moves, on average every three years. Mobility to this degree can have detrimental effects on the quality of education military school-aged students receive due to differences among states in their curriculum standards, course availability, entrance and eligibility policies and timelines, and graduation requirements,” said May. “This Interstate Compact continues to have tremendous potential to assist military children entering and exiting California schools by removing or reducing barriers to their educational success as a result of their parents’ duty to country.”
Also addressed at the event was a bill that would establish a state-wide indicator within the state department of education’s longitudinal data system, providing a means for schools to ensure that military children are being adequately supported through transitions.
There are approximately 19,000 children of service members assigned to Marine Corps installations attending over 650 schools in over 300 cities across 3 states throughout the region. Five of these schools are located aboard Camp Pendleton and are administered by two non-DoD school districts.