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School transfers may be easier for military kids

POSTED: March 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.
A new multi-state agreement that would ease the cumbersome process faced by many military families when enrolling their children in new school systems recently passed with overwhelming support in the Georgia Senate.
Known as the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, the agreement was approved in the chamber by a 49-0 vote and now awaits a decision in the House.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), is part of a nationwide initiative aimed at addressing and simplifying a number of key barriers encountered by military families when transferring between school districts.
According to a legislative resource kit created by the Council of State Governments, a group supporting the compact, most military children "will have six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade."
The goal of the agreement is to keep students of military parents on track with their coursework during these school changes by reducing the difficulty of transferring records and variations in enrollment, graduation and testing requirements among school districts.
States receiving military transfers would have to accept temporary transcripts for class placement until official records are received, as well as enroll and provide a short grace period to students who do not meet local vaccination requirements.
Membership in academic societies such as the National Honors Society or Beta Club would be honored and state-specific exit exams required for high school graduation could be waived or substituted for tests taken in another state.
And with deployments still a reality for many servicemembers, the agreement would also make it easier for non-custodial guardians or relatives of military students to enroll them.
Twenty-five states are considering the compact this year.
At least 10 states must approve the compact in order for it to become effective.
Georgia Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), who represents Liberty County and its estimated 3,300 military students in the Liberty County School System, said he hopes lawmakers will make the right decision.
"The burdens on military families are sacrificial enough," he said. "Trying to make changing duty stations and school systems easier for their children is the least we can do."

 

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