Dear Civilian Schools: Our MilKids Need Your Support

April 19, 2019

What words would you use to describe your MilKid? The following most likely just popped into your head: resilient, independent, adaptable, strong, loyal, and compassionate.

They’re the poster child for such adjectives because just as their hero and active duty parent serves our country, they do too. And when it comes time for yet another PCS, they learn to adapt and grow into this unique lifestyle.

But, during these times of frequent transition, if you were to ask your fellow military friends what they’re most concerned about when it comes to their child, it often isn’t about whether or not they’ll end up liking the new duty station over the last one. Instead, they’d say they’re increasingly concerned about their education.

No, this isn’t merely an assumption.

Military families like yours spoke up on Blue Star Families’ 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey (MFLS) to be the voice for your MilKid’s education, further pushing this issue into the spotlight. And the proof is in the pudding as 42% of military family respondents indicated military children’s education was a top concern for them.

Why? Because, according to the National Military Family Association, the average military kid moves nine times before graduating high school. As a result of those moves and varying standards, requirements, and curriculums from state to state, one in four military kids are being left behind in school.

Let those statistics sink in for a moment.

So, it should come as no surprise that when civilian schools support military families, the impacts extend far beyond just the classroom. When our MilKids feel understood, cared for, and don’t have to play catch up following every single PCS season, they can thrive in their academics and feel like fitting in with their peers is possible. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the case for everyone. Our children’s education shouldn’t have to suffer as a result of their service and sacrifice.

army spouse military children

Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 2018

 

All that to say, what steps can be taken to improve the current state of this situation? Military respondents on the MFLS stated their top recommendation for supporting their child was for schools to provide more training for school professionals on military life experiences. See for yourself:

military family life survey

Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 2018

Has steady progress been made to improve the future of education for our MilKids?

Yes, further illustrating the fact that your voice matters. Because military families like yours stepped up and shared their concerns, in 2018, all public schools were required to allow military parents to identify their child as a military student. Though, it’s important to note that some schools had already been doing so. This requirement, however, helps schools better understand and support their military student populations, and provides additional training for teachers who have military students in their classrooms.

Additionally, BSF knows that schools are a critical junction for broader military family support. How so? Well, in the 2018 MFLS, military families who indicated their school did an “excellent” job of supporting military life were significantly more connected in their communities than those who said their schools did a “fair” job of doing so. Therefore, the hard work continues to keep moving in the right direction with the hopes of more and more families receiving the support they need and deserve from their civilian schools.

How can you continue to effect change for our MilKids’ education?

Quality schools that welcome your child are critical to overall military family readiness. In honor of April being the Month of the Military Child, tell us how YOUR civilian school is doing by becoming a member of BSF today so you can gear up to take our 2019 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which launches on May 6 and runs through June 14. Don’t forget to encourage those in your military community to do the same!

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