U.S. Department of Defense - Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed into law April 9th legislation that will ease the transition for military children as their service member parents move from assignment to assignment during their careers. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear followed suit the next day.
Twenty-one other states are actively considering the compact and 14 of those state legislatures have bills submitted in one or both chambers. Kansas is the first state to adopt the compact. Adoption in ten states makes the compact operational.
"Passage of this interstate compact will have a lasting, positive impact on our military families," said David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "Quality education is a primary quality of life concern. In fact, education is so important that that it directly impacts military recruitment, satisfaction with assignments, readiness, and ultimately, retention. We ask a lot of our military families. Easing this burden is the right thing to do. We appreciate all the support and effort to implement the compact. We look forward to more states signing on."
The compact, developed by the Council of State Governments, education experts and the Department of Defense, addresses common problems that affect military students as a result of frequent moves and deployments. States that sign on to the compact agree to work collectively with other compact states to create uniform standards of practice, including the transfer of records, course placement, graduation requirements, redundant or missed testing, entrance-age variations and other transition issues.
"We are thrilled that Kansas and Kentucky are leading the nation in seeking uniform standards for school transition for military children,"said Leslye A. Arsht,deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy.
Approximately 1.5 million children of military families attend schools other than those sponsored by the Department of Defense and military families move about three times as often as their civilian counterparts, Arsht said. This legislation will positively impact the 19,000 school-age children of military families residing in Kansas and 30,834 school-age children in Kentucky.
"This compact really means a lot to military families," Arsht said. "Once in force, it means that a move to a new school will no longer prevent students from taking the classes they want or deny them extra-curricular activities. They won't have to repeat a class and or delay graduation because they are completing a new state's requirements. The compact creates consistency and certainty for families as they move from one school to another. Our families also serve our nation. We are grateful for this tangible way states are showing their appreciation."