It may be the high-tech equipment and weapons that capture the public's attention, but the heart of the Army has always been the men and women who serve in uniform. America's soldiers are dedicated, loyal and hardworking. They routinely work long hours, are frequently deployed away from family and friends, and perform their missions selflessly and efficiently.
Today's military force is an educated force and a family force. Military members have high expectations for their children's education. More are accepting or rejecting assignments, or even deciding to leave the military, based on perceptions about the education their children will receive at prospective duty stations.
There must be a national acceptance that our mobile society demands a new way of cooperation and accommodation regarding state and local education practices. Opportunities for flexibility and reciprocity must be worked out among the various state systems and (in the case of military children) DoD schools. Military installation commanders must work with their state and local officials on behalf of the military families they represent and advocate that their children receive an equal opportunity to excel in all aspects of the education process. Support for these efforts must be evident at local, state and federal levels, to include the Departments of Defense and Education. Congress must fully fund the Department of Education budget, especially Impact Aid, and put in place an automatic funding mechanism.
Upon taking office in January 2001, President George W. Bush made education his first priority. During a news conference on 23 January 2001, he stated, "We've got one thing in mind: an education system that's responsive to the children, an education system that educates every child, an education system that I'm confident can exist--one that's based upon sound fundamental curriculum, one that starts teaching children to read early in life, one that focuses on systems that do work, one that heralds our teachers and makes sure they've got the necessary tools to teach, but one that says every child can learn. And in this great land called America, no child will be left behind."
The military child is at risk of being left behind or of having gaps in his or her education until the school systems adequately recognize and properly accommodate the transition and assimilation requirements of this mobile population. Congress must appropriately resource schools, especially those heavily impacted by military children, if we are to close the gaps. Military families don't want their children to be singled out. They don't want them treated differently--they want them treated fairly.
To serve the children of the members
of America's armed forces
requires a "level playing field."
The Association of the United States Army
is fighting to ensure that every military child
has access to a complete and comprehensive education
so that no child is left behind.
Letter from Gen. Sullivan
Educating Our Military's Children . . . Are We Closing the Gaps?
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