Fix Public Schools, Don’t Undermine Federal Aid

On November 6, 2017 Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success, published the following memo on a recent survey released by Ed Choice.

An Oct. 2017 report by Ed Choice, in collaboration with researchers at the Heritage Foundation, surveyed men and women in the armed forces about issues they face in obtaining a quality education for their children.

As part of the survey, the group polled service members about their views on school vouchers, the federal Impact Aid program and parent-controlled education savings accounts. The report also cites a study and survey of Military Times readers sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, along with commentaries and polling data sponsored by our organization.

The Collaborative for Student Success does not support any effort to shift the $1.3 billion federal Impact Aid program into parent-controlled education savings accounts. Impact Aid funds are essential because they help local communities pay for services, such as education, for military-connected families. As firm advocates of public education, we believe that this would undercut the very institution that the vast majority of military parents, and indeed all American parents, rely upon.

Rather than gut public education, we want to fix it for military parents. As our study with the Lexington Institute underscores, we believe that these measures will greatly strengthen the education of military-connected students:

  • Continued strengthening of comparable content standards, to help lessen the educational disruptions for military students when they move.
  • Policies that allow military families to send children to school in a nearby district, not just the one in which they live.
  • Full implementation of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which is designed to resolve education transition issues.
  • A high prioritization of family education concerns by military leaders whenever possible.