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Pact eases military students' transition

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POSTED: March 8, 2010 11:51 a.m.
WASHINGTON — An interstate agreement is easing the school transition process for military children, many of whom will attend six to nine schools over the course of a parent's military career, an education official said.
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is a cooperative effort among 27 states to address some of the administrative challenges military children face when moving to a new school.
“The compact smoothes out the bumps in the road for military children as they move from one school district to another,” said Ed Kringer, director of state liaison and education opportunities directorate for the Pentagon's office of military community and family policy. “The goal is to ensure students can move ahead with their education wherever they go.”
Participating states work together to ensure uniform standards for processes including records transfer, course placement, graduation requirements, extracurricular participation, entrance and exit testing, and entrance-age requirements.
The compact started in 2006 as a collaborative effort among the Defense Department, Council of State Governments and other stakeholders. It’s now regulated by the states and overseen by an interstate commission.
Officials initially aimed for 10 states to sign on, but the outcome far exceeded their expectations, Kringer said. In one year, they had 11 states participating, and by 2009, 25 states had signed on. California and New Jersey are the latest to join. These 27 states contain 81 percent of the nation’s 630,000 military children, the director said.
“We’re very proud of this compact,” he said. “This has been, by far and away, the most rapidly accepted interstate compact in history. We attribute much of the success to the fact that this compact doesn’t cost very much, doesn't have a negative side; it just helps military children.”
The compact reflects input from parents, teachers, school administrators, military families, and federal, state and local officials, Kringer said. It attempts to address the many challenges that arise due to multiple military moves and other military life-related challenges.
 

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