According to Department of Defense (DoD), the average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school and most military children will attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. Is it possible to think that military children can have the same “normal” school experiences as their peers?
Everything seems to be different between states: different standards in education, different curriculum, different enrollment deadlines and different activities offered. There are different requirements for shot records, different eligibility ages for kindergarten/first grade and completely different class credits for high school students to earn in order to graduate. It’s actually mind boggling the amount of research and hurdles parents have to jump through in order to standardize the education for our kids.
The Military Children Interstate Compact Commission, or MIC3, was created to mitigate the impact that changing schools has on our families. Read more about MIC3.
As of today, all 50 states have signed the compact agreeing to help level the playing field for our kids. The commission began in 2008 after several high-ranking military members were fed up with the how the educational systems were treating military children. They had heard the concerns for years from their troops and had even felt the effects themselves from their own children.
The compact covers multiple key issues. The agreement has far reaching affects, from kindergartners to high school students. It also covers extracurricular activities that can sometimes be the link children need to integrate happily into school.
There are several ways the MIC3 can impact your military child’s education and school experience: As a parent, you should understand MIC3 before your next PCS and be prepared when registering at your new school. To find out more about MIC3 and the how they can help with changing school visit www.mic3.net.
There is a positive side of moving that should not be lost in the message. The positive impact far out weighs the negative. Military children are thought be more outgoing, less biased and more resilient than their civilian counterparts. Military children are allowed to reinvent themselves with every move, too. They have life experiences that forever change, mature and grow them. They can make a friend at a moments notice. They are experts at keeping in touch, generous with their time, and open to new things. They truly become gifts to the society in which they live.
However, no matter how wonderful the positive impacts are to relocating, the truth is that moving is extremely stressful for children, especially middle school and high school students. If you take anything away from this article, know that knowledge is power. Understanding your child’s educational needs and the stressor of moving is critical to a smooth transition and healthy child.
Tears will continue to be shed, doors will still be slammed and worrying about our children will never end. However, understanding the challenges they face allows us to better advocate for them. Advocating for your military child at their new school is your obligation to the greater military family. Together, we can lessen the impact felt by our children – because in the end, they serve too.
To find out more about PSCing with school aged children, check out this checklist.