The findings from a survey of Military Times readers highlight the powerful connection between the K-12 education of military-connected children and military readiness.
U.S. service members with children are strongly influenced by how well their child is performing academically as well as perceptions of the quality of education their child will receive at a new posting. New data show that service members weigh these factors heavily in their decision to take an assignment that requires moving to another state.
Respondents were asked: “Did moving between states as part of your military service add challenges to your children’s education?” A very large segment – 70 percent – answered “yes,” while 30 percent answered “no” or “don’t know.”
Over one-third of respondents – 35 percent – said that dissatisfaction with a child’s education was or is “a significant factor” in deciding whether or not to continue military service.
Similarly, 40 percent of respondents said that they have either declined or would decline a career-advancing job at a different installation to remain at their current military facility because of high performing schools.
Nearly half of respondents – 48 percent – are serving on active duty.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR READINESS
Military families are making choices about whether to accept a particular duty station or depart the Armed Forces based in part on the quality of surrounding schools. The men and women who wear the uniform are at risk of voting with their feet if the education of their children suffers because of their choice to serve the nation. Military readiness is a multi-faceted challenge, and the education of military-connected children plays a vital role.
FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE STATE HOUSE – WHAT ELECTED OFFICIALS NEED TO KNOW
Elected officials at the state and federal levels must focus on providing the nearly one million military-connected children with high education standards that are consistent from school district to school district and state to state, and that properly prepare a child for career or college.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
Sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, the online survey of Military Times readers polled over 200 respondents, with representation from all U.S. military branches; 78 percent of respondents have served 11 or more years in the Armed Forces. The survey took place from Jan. 12 – 24, 2017.