By Colleen Flaherty
Fort Hood Herald
The average military child changes school districts six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation. A new website is designed to ease the burden of those transitions.
The Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission launched mic3.net on Aug. 30. The website serves as a vital resource for educators and military families alike, said retired Brig. Gen. Norman Arflack, executive director of the Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunities for Military Children, which is based in Kentucky.
"We're not in the business of trying to reinvent the state superintendents of public instruction's methods or how they do business," he said. Instead, he continued, the commission wants to "promote parity in educational opportunities for the children of active duty military as they transition."
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is a document that seeks to standardize graduation and immunization requirements, course placement, exit testing, and extra-curricular opportunities, among other things, for military transfer students.
Thirty-five states have signed on to the agreement since a model version was drafted in 2008. States may choose to amend the model compact's language slightly before adopting it. Texas signed on in 2009.
Children who begin kindergarten in one state, Arflack said, should be able to continue their education in another state without worrying about differing age requirements. Equally, he said, a high school student who enjoys sports should be given the opportunity to try out for a team in a new school district, even if he or she arrives mid-season. The compact seeks to address these issues and others, he said.
Much of the commission's job, Arflack said, is educating school systems on the terms of the compact. Mic3.net will make its content more accessible and offer school districts and families across the country a direct link to the commission, should they need assistance with implementing and making use of the compact.
The Killeen Independent School District has been operating according to the compact for some time, said Diana Miller, chief academic officer, but can only benefit from the new website.
"It's wonderful that the website helps parents know and understand what they can expect when they come on board," she said, "and they can bring us the right documents to help students continue the programs that they're in."
Prior to the compact, for example, said Miller, military students who were enrolled in specialty classes in another state, such as honors courses, may have been reassessed for eligibility upon moving to Killeen. The compact makes such actions unnecessary and the child's transition smoother, she said.
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.