Interstate Compact eases school transitions for military keiki

| September 7, 2011 | 0 Comments
Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — An interstate compact is spurring improvements to the school transition process for military parents and their children, while also making inroads into addressing parents’ education-related concerns, a Department of Defense official said, recently.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children affects everything from school enrollment and eligibility, to course placement and graduation, explained Ed Kringer, director of state liaison and educational opportunity for the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy.

Since its inception in 2006, 39 states have adopted the compact, ensuring inclusion of nearly 90 percent of military children and teens. Governor Neil Abercrombie reauthorized Hawaii’s compact June 3, signing the bill into law.

The compact was developed to counter many of the common education challenges military families face, he said.

“All parents want good education for their children; they want them to have a chance to succeed,” Kringer said. “In many cases, many (military) parents have felt there are roadblocks — unintentional roadblocks — but roadblocks put in the way of their children.”

A delay in records transfer has been an ongoing concern, he noted, with some schools taking weeks or months to ship records to another state. This delay can result in missed course or program placement. Through the compact, schools are required to ship records within 10 days.

In the past, school officials have barred students from enrolling in honors programs until their qualifications could be verified, Kringer said. Meanwhile, they’ve lost a semester or more of participation in that program.

The compact works to avoid these education gaps and requires the gaining school to presume students are qualified for an honors program if they were in a similar program in another school and spaces are available in the gaining program, Kringer explained. The students still can be tested, but meanwhile, they’re not losing valuable learning time.

Students who move during the school year often miss activity deadlines and end up having to sit out a year of an activity, such as in band or a sport, until auditions or tryouts are held again, Kringer said. The compact requires schools to waive the deadlines or, if those dates are steadfast, find an alternate way for students to apply.

The compact requires the gaining school to look closely at courses and exams so students aren’t denied a graduation due to minor differences in standards between states.

“(It’s important) for parents to understand the compact, what it provides and also know what it doesn’t do,” Kringer said.

If parents and guardians hit any roadblocks,  they should talk to their local school liaison officer.

Kringer said DOD officials will continue to work with the compact’s governing body to bring the remaining 11 states on board.

 

Hawaii’s Interstate Compact

The next Interstate Compact Council Meeting on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is 9-11 a.m., Sept. 15, Room 309, Hawaii State Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., Honolulu.

Visit http://militaryfamily.k12.hi.us or call School Support Services at 655-9818 for more information.

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Category: Community, Education

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