To help students who are forced to change schools frequently because of their parents’ military careers, the U.S. Army last week announced a plan designed to ease such transitions for students and administrators in nine districts.
The Army began collecting anecdotal information about student transfers in 1997 but later conducted a more in-depth study on the challenges students face in attending multiple schools. The study examined 39 high schools in nine districts on or near Army bases. More than 420 transfer students and some 230 educators, were interviewed.
The study found that students whose parents were in the Army changed schools about three times more often than their classmates, that the transfer of their educational records often was inconsistent, and that credit transfer and placement decisions can pose a problem.
To combat those difficulties, Army officials announced July 5 that they had reached an agreement with nine school districts to help make such transitions easier.
For instance, parents will be able to hand-deliver their children’s records from one school system to another to avoid delays. Also, each district has agreed to allow a military representative to advise its school board on issues important to military families.
“The Army is committed to reducing turbulence in the lives of our soldiers and their family members,” said Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff. “The agreement ... will enhance the quality of life for our soldiers and our families.”
The plan initially will cover schools serving Fort Benning in Georgia; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Campbell in Kentucky; Fort Lewis in Washington state; Fort Sill in Oklahoma; and several bases in Germany and South Korea. Army officials plan eventually to expand the program.
“The intent is to ... minimize any disruptions,” said Bill Harrison, the superintendent of the Cumberland County school district, which includes Fort Bragg.
A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2001 edition of Education Week as Army Pact To Ease Students’ School Transfers