National PTA and Military Child Education Coalition Unite to Support Military Families

Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

•   Military families encounter significant school challenges when dealing with enrollment, eligibility, placement, and graduation of their children, due to frequent relocations in the course of service to our country. Most military children will have six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade.

•   The Council of State Governments' National Center for Interstate Compacts, in cooperation with the Department of Defense, has worked to develop an interstate compact that deals with these issues.

•   The compact reflects input from policy experts and stakeholders from 18 different organizations, including representatives of parents, teachers, school administrators, military families, and federal, state, and local officials.

•   The Compact will allow for the uniform treatment, at the state and local district level, of military children transferring between school dists and states.

•   Each participating state must adopt the Compact through legislation; it will go into effect when adopted by 10 states. (This is not a mandate to states, as participation by states is completely voluntary.)

•   Each Compact state will appoint representation to an on-going governing Commission which will enact necessary rules and give further guidance to the Compact's implementation. Only those state commissioners will have voting authority.

•   Efforts have begun to educate state policymakers regarding the need for the Compact, and the nature and widespread use of Interstate Compacts, generally.

The National PTA Partnership will Educate and Mobilize Communities to Support Military-Connected Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12, 2011) – In response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative, National PTA and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) announced they will partner to engage military families and support the more than one million grade school-age military children.

The partnership will work to build connections between military and civilian parents and students through programs and activities in highly military-impacted school districts. The two organizations will also work together to educate state PTA leaders on fostering a common understanding of military child education issues and communicate the role that they can play in supporting these families.

“For decades our military-based PTAs around the world have worked hard to increase family engagement and student achievement. This partnership helps us take it a step further by educating all of our PTAs and civilian parents on military family life so that we all are more aware and responsive to the unique needs of military children and families,” says Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA President.

“We have enormous respect for the mission of the PTA and this robust partnership presents a powerful opportunity to support America’s military-connected children,” said Mary M. Keller, Ed.D., President and CEO of MCEC. “Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have done so much to mobilize support for the children of our men and women in uniform- these children also serve,” added Dr. Keller.

Some of the key deliverables to the partnership include the development of a toolkit and guide for parents that describes the unique needs of military families and provide strategies and ideas for them to better engage military families. The toolkit will include a “Guide to Engaging with Military-Connected Parents” developed by MCEC. The partnership will also work to increase the number of schools nationwide participating in their parent and student engagement programs.