Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed into law Wednesday legislation to ease the transition for military children as their service member parents move from assignment to assignment during their careers.
Delaware, nicknamed "The First State" because it was the first state to ratify the Constitution, is the tenth and critical state to adopt the "Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children." With this signing, the compact is 'activated' in the 10 states that have adopted it, and for other states that subsequently join. Kansas adopted the compact exactly three months ago on April 9th. Since then Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Oklahoma have adopted the compact.
The compact, developed by the Council of State Governments, education and military family 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 regarding the transfer of records, course placement, graduation requirements, redundant or missed testing, entrance-age variations and other transition issues.
"This is wonderful news for our military families," said David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "The education of our military children is a critical quality of life measure for our military families. It is so important that it directly impacts military recruitment, satisfaction with assignments, retention, and ultimately, readiness. We appreciate all the support and effort to implement the compact."
With the compact's activation, several administrative actions will take place in the next few months that will make it operational from a practical standpoint. This includes a series of meetings of the appointed commissioners from each of the 10 states to organize the Compact Commission, put a small staff in place, and to begin the rulemaking process.
"We are so pleased that the compact, once a vision, will now be a reality for our military families. We are grateful to the ten states that led 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. Military families move about three times as often as their civilian counterparts, Arsht said.