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Why College and Career Ready Standards are Important for Military-Connected Students

06.22.2015, by Susan Conolly
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Written by Suzanne Schumitz

In April, we recognized the “Month of the Military Child.” Many of you have military children or are familiar with them so you may not be surprised by the following numbers compiled by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) in their “College, Career and Life Readiness” guide . . .

• Nearly 4 million students around the country have a parent who has served
  in the U.S. military since 9/11.
• 60% of military-connected children (approximately 1.2 million) are school-aged.
• Approximately 700,000 of these students are children of active-duty service
  members who move an average of 6 to 9 times during their K-12 education,
  which is 3 times more often than their civilian classmates.
• Nearly 80% of military-connected students attend public schools. If you include
  the children of military veterans, that population gets closer to 90%.

What do these numbers tell us?  School-aged military-connected children, most of whom attend public schools, are generally more affected by mobility than their civilian peers!

In the not so distant past, each time military families moved they experienced firsthand the differences states had in their academic standards. Students often “fell through the cracks” when their new school’s curriculum expected them to have learned something in a previous grade that their old school didn’t cover.  Sometimes students ended up sitting through lessons on subject matter that they’d already been taught in their old school.  These gaps and overlaps caused by inconsistent academic standards across the United States have had a greater impact on military-connected students who move several times during their educational careers than on more geographically stable students.

Our blog entry published in March, “What’s the big deal about “College and Career Readiness?”, discussed the gap between how prepared our high school graduates feel they are for their post-graduate careers (whether their plans involve attending college first or not) and how prepared current employers truly feel those graduates are when applying for jobs. This discrepancy has been the impetus for the recent change in the standards our students are held to from grade to grade and from state to state.

Consistent academic benchmarks across the United States, such as the College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) that have now been adopted by all fifty states, ease the transitions that military-connected students face when moving and eliminate the gap and overlap situations described above.  The fact that College and Career Ready Standards are also more rigorous than those previously held by some states prior to their adoption means that all students will be better prepared to achieve academic success and readiness when selecting and pursuing a career path after graduating from high school.

Look for more College and Career Readiness posts coming soon which will discuss what’s being done to get students college and career ready, and will provide resources that are available to assist military-connected students and families!

We invite you to read more about College and Career Readiness and to join in the discussion by visiting the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®), its SchoolQuest.org™ website initiative and its Homeroom interactive online community.  Help us get the word out by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter . . . for the sake of the child!

* This blog was made possible by a Gates Foundation grant.