Give Military Families School Choice
On Monday, November 13, I moderated a discussion at The Heritage Foundation about how Americans can provide education choice to the families of military men and women, and what those options might mean for them, their families, and the country. Representative Jim Banks (R, IN) opened the event with remarks based on his own years of service. He was followed by a panel of voices from both the military and educational policy communities, who made clear the necessity for innovative educational options. (Video below)
School choice is a national security issue for the parents of the roughly two million military-connected children in the United States. In a Military Times survey, over a third of military members reported unhappiness with their children’s educations as a “significant factor” in their decision to leave the service.
Due to the unique challenges of having one or even both parents in the service, the typical military-connected child may end up attending three or more schools during his or her K-12 years. Military families are more likely than non-military families to have made serious sacrifices for the sake of their children’s educations. Military parents are more likely than civilians to change jobs, take out loans and move to make sure their children receive the education they deserve.
No wonder a survey undertaken by EdChoice found that a whopping 72 percent favor innovative choice-granting options like education savings accounts, while only 15 percent oppose them.
ALEC has long championed school choice, and education savings accounts in particular, in the states. While it is right and proper that the primary vehicle for these crucial reforms remain in the states, there are some reforms that are appropriate at the federal level, among them anything having to do with national security and our nation’s finest who serve in uniform.
ALEC, along with the Heritage Foundation, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and other think tanks and stakeholders around the nation, published an open letter in favor of giving our military families more educational options. We must ensure that no one who is willing to put on the uniform has to worry about their children’s educations being part of the sacrifice he or she makes for the rest of us.