November 3, 2021 by HCDE-Texas
November is Military Family Month, which honors the commitment and dedication with which these families support their service members. The sacrifices they make are what keep our military strong. However, these sacrifices can pose unique challenges for the children of military families. A 2020 study by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) found that the children of U.S. service members are struggling to keep their education on track.
The MCEC reports that the average military-connected student can expect to move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation. The study, which surveyed more than 5,100 military-connected children ages 13 and older, parents, and educators, showed ongoing issues for students transitioning between schools. The primary academic challenges reported include:
- 73 percent of families with a special education student reported difficulties implementing a child’s individualized education plan (IEP) at a new school
- 97 percent of educators reported they believe military-connected students experienced more stress than their civilian peers, while 40 percent also reported low confidence in their ability to advocate for policy on the students’ behalves
- 67 percent of school professionals tasked with managing transitions reported uncertainty in how to address graduation waivers for students moving in their senior year, and 44 percent reported low confidence in assessing transcripts from other schools
- Only 41 percent of military families felt that schools met their students’ needs
“The survey also identified several social-emotional concerns for military students who regularly transition in and out of schools,” said the MCEC. “The top concerns included: the challenge of making friends in a new school; difficulties feeling accepted and fitting in with a new school and its culture; finding ways to build self-confidence; and, dealing with the deployment of a parent.”
The entirety of the findings and study parameters can be found here.
To combat these challenges, Texas offers several programs and initiatives accessible to military-connected students and their families both on and off military installations within their communities. These resources, such as School Liaison Officers, Child and Youth Behavioral Military Family Life Counselors, and the Exceptional Family Member Program, exist to help students and families cope with the academic, logistical, and social-emotional impacts of a family member’s national service.
For a complete list of resources available to military-connected students and families, visit TEA.Texas.gov or email email@example.com.