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Education Savings Act for Military Families
Did you know that by the time most military children complete secondary school, they will have switched schools between six to nine times? According to the DoDEA, this is true, and it is three times more frequently than non-military families. You can probably relate to this with your own military children.
This Education Savings Act Would Help Military Families
Because of this, there can be a lot of stress on military families when it comes to their children’s education. From having to leave a good school district in the middle of the year to struggling socially and academically because the environment, as well as standards, are different from where they were stationed before.
A survey of Military Times readers, from January 12-24, 2017, sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, polled over 200 respondents from all branches of the US military. In the survey, they found that over a third of the members of the US military have dissatisfaction with their children’s education and that it is a big factor in leaving the service. So beyond quality of life, this is also a military retention issue.
The Education Savings Account Act For Military Families
What can be done to help military families with this? Is there anything that can make these transitions a little easier? The Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2019 can. But it has been sitting in committee since March.
If this bill is passed, things could change for the better. This bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The bill would allow parents of eligible military dependent children to establish military education savings accounts.
Military families could apply for up to $6,000 for each eligible military dependent child covered by the account through the Department of Education. This money could then be used on their child’s education. It could be used for the following:
- Private school
- College-prep classes
- Online courses
Basically, anything that could help keep their child’s education on track no matter where they have to go or be stationed. No matter how often they have to move and start over somewhere else.
The Choice Act
There is also the CHOICE Act, which is sponsored by Senator Tim Scott, R-SC. The CHOICE Act expands options for the approximately 200,000 children that live on domestic military installations.
The Choice Act would create a pilot program under the Department of Defense. The program would be on at least 5 bases without DoD Education Activity schools. The program would provide scholarships to students in military families on base. Scholarship amounts would be up to $8,000 for elementary and $12,000 for high school.
However, this one is also in Committee. This act would allocate $10 million per year, vs the $1.2 billion for the Education Savings Act. Both acts would be funded through the Department of Education.
Although military children are a smaller demographic, they face a lot of challenges. By the time a child starts 7th grade, they could be on their 9th school. They could have had a range of educational experiences: a private school in New York state, a DONSA school in Germany, or a public school in Georgia.
Most parents want the best for their children when it comes to their education. However, military life can make this difficult. Sometimes you are left with only a few options, or options you wouldn’t want to send your kids to. Some families would benefit from homeschooling. It makes moving, especially short term moves, a little easier on the kids. Other families can use private school or online options to help keep their kids on track.
This proposed legislation can help military families with these issues. They can give us more flexibility with our children’s education and allow them to stay grounded and more stable. All this despite all the moving the military lifestyle requires.
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.