For Immediate Release: July 12, 2017

Contact: Michael Spaeth, michael.spaeth@nasbe.org, 703-684-4002

State Board Policy Can Play Key Role in Supporting Students of Military Families

Alexandria, VA — With thousands of U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan and other posts, the nation’s armed forces continue to make significant sacrifices. So do their families. A new NASBE policy update explores the unique challenges that military-connected students face and how state boards of education can ensure the success and well-being of these students through effective policies on data sharing and training in data management.

Students with parents or guardians serving in the military are one of the most mobile groups of students and face social-emotional and academic challenges their peers do not. These challenges often stem from the potential loss of a parent or guardian, the lack of adult support at home for a student’s academic efforts, and other factors. Military-connected students also face the social-emotional difficulties that come with new teachers, friends, and other adjustments.

Mobility and mid-semester school changes have made it difficult for schools to track and support these students. Some states have relied on families to self-report their children’s connection to the military, which has exacerbated the difficulties.

Until recently, state and school district initiatives to help military families were ad hoc. As of last summer, only 19 states required separate tracking of military-connected students. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) now requires states that receive federal funds under Title I to include information on the academic achievement of these students in their state report cards.

State boards can design and promote policies to do the following:

  • Promote interstate cooperation and appropriate data sharing. Those that do not have such authority directly can convene groups to discuss the issues, advise state legislatures and other entities with more direct power, and partner with national forums.
  • Press for data management training. In 46 states, state boards can pass training requirements or can compel or guide districts in creating a plan to address data management and privacy needs. Kentucky, Colorado, West Virginia, and Illinois have already made such efforts.

“All states ought to adopt training requirements as a core component of their commitment to data integrity, student privacy, and public trust,” writes author William Tucker. “Devoted engagement in this area, in addition to a renewed zeal for cross-state collaboration, will have a powerful impact on the ability of states to fulfill ESSA’s requirements for tracking military-connected students and ensure proper support for these special students at every step of their academic journey.”

Read and share the NASBE policy update “Policies to Support Military-Connected Students.”

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, promote excellence in the education of all students, and ensure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.

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