HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- April is the Month of the Military Child; a time to recognize and appreciate military children who also serve and make sacrifices. The irony is that, after 11 years of war, separation, and hardship, this April is a time of increased stress caused by the budget uncertainty. We now have leaders who, rather than finding solutions supportive of predictability for children, are allowing a climate of uncertainty to prevail. There are over 2 million children with parents who are serving in our military —yet for each child it is personal and individual. A Marine parent shared his child's lament, "Dad, you've been gone half my life!" Haven't military kids sacrificed enough? This child and all military families need to know that schools have what they need to serve them and their civilian classmates.
Military kids are just kids, but much as been asked of them from an early age. Most of them are in grades K-12. School professionals are essential to them and their parents—part of a convoy of support. We are asking that policy leaders come together now and support military-connected students by providing lasting, positive solutions which prevent rolling harm caused by cuts to education dollars. Class sizes, special programs and services, and instructional time are all impacted. There are no do-overs when it comes to kids.
Every school district in America has military-connected children and youth. Over 80% of military-connected children attend U.S. public schools, and less than 8 % attend Department of Defense schools. These children live with the perpetual challenges presented by frequent moves, parental deployments, and a host of life transitions including reintegration and dealing with profoundly changed parents. In their own way, military-connected children serve alongside their military parents. Approximately 12 % of these children have amplified challenges associated with special needs. The well-being of all military-connected children and youth depends heavily on a strong, consistent network of supportive adults and, most especially, educators. Teachers, mentors, and role models play a pivotal role in the future of all children, especially the military child.