Military children focus of bill adopted by 43 states
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children provides for the uniform treatment of military children transferring between school districts and states. It was developed by the Council of State Governments' National Center for Interstate Compacts, the Department of Defense, national associations, federal and state officials, departments of education, school administrators and military families.

FORT BENNING, Ga. (July 18, 2012) -- Georgia is the 42nd state to sign the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The purpose is to ease the transition for school-aged children of military families, according to the compact.

Massachusetts became the 43rd state to sign the agreement.

The compact focuses on educational records and enrollment, placement and attendance, eligibility, graduation and state coordination. It applies to active-duty service members, service members and veterans who are seriously injured and medically discharged or retired for up to a year after they are medically discharged or retired. The formal agreement also applies to the survivors of service members who die on active duty up to a year after the service member's death.

Darlene Register, military student transition consultant for Muscogee County, said it makes things easier for school districts to work with across state lines.

Examples of ways the compact seeks to reduce the challenges of transferring military students include honoring the same classes, if offered, course placement of the previous state school to include courses such as Advanced Placement classes, honors classes and technical or vocational classes. However, the gaining state school can have the student complete evaluations to make sure the student is in the appropriate course.

Another example are kindergarteners and first-grade students, who, according to the compact, are allowed to "continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving state commensurate with their grade level (including kindergarten) from a local education agency in the sending state at the transition, regardless of age."

"If a student was not 5 before September 1st, we would not let them attend kindergarten," Register said. "But now if they have been, we will let them attend."

Families and students are encouraged to speak with their guidance counselors about getting into the appropriate classes, Register said.

Tawanna Brown, youth education support services director, said she encourages counselors to familiarize themselves with the compact, especially since they are the first interaction families have.

"We've always had our military students' interests at heart. If there is a way to help them graduate, we just have to help them do it," Register said.

For more information about the interstate compact, visit www.mic3.net.

Page last updated Wed July 18th, 2012 at 00:00