Editorial: Bill helps children of military

Published Mar 19, 2014 at 12:01AM

Oregon’s decision to be part of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children certainly won’t put a hole in the state’s budget. But for the 1,800 or so children of active duty military personnel living in this state, the $2,000 total it is expected to cost could make a real difference.

The compact was created in 2008, and when Gov. John Kitzhaber signs Senate Bill 1506, which makes it law here, some 1,800 children may find life a bit easier.

The interstate agreement sets out rules for the way the individual states handle the schooling of children of active duty members of the military. Those kids may move frequently, and unless states agree on such a plan, they can find themselves tangled in a mass of interstate educational red tape.

The compact and the commission it creates are designed to keep that from happening. The compact sets out procedures for the sharing of students’ records between school districts and lays out rules for admission, placement and graduation, among other things.

Students have 30 days to meet vaccination requirements in new states, for example. School districts must accept incoming military children at the grade and course levels they left their old schools, though they may evaluate that placement later.

If a child transfers as a high school senior, and graduation requirements in the state he or she left do not match those of the new state, the two states must work together to allow the child to graduate from the old state.

Clearly, the idea is to smooth the way for children of active duty military personnel, including active duty members of the National Guard and military reserve forces. Those kids tend to move from state to state more frequently than many other children, and each move can create a new set of barriers that must be removed.

The compact aims to do just that. If it ensures that more children of military parents get the education they need, it is a success.