Keep DoD Schools Open For Military Children!

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Children of service members have enough instability in their lives. DoDEA schools must remain open for them!


Sign this petition and tell the Department of Defense that DoDEA schools need to stay open!

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools [1] exist in the United States for children of active service members. Thousands of military families depend on these schools to provide not only education, but also stability to lives that are often subject to frequent moves, deployments and other factors of military life.

However, the government is considering closing the schools as a budget cutting factor [2].

There are currently DoDEA schools on 15 military bases or installations in the United States, along with others overseas [3]. Thousands of children attend these stateside schools. For the students — and the military families as a whole — the DoDEA school system provides a measure of stability that should not be taken away from them.

According to the Hechinger Report in 2015, "Nearly 1.2 million U.S. children have at least one parent in the armed forces and they move around often, switching schools an average of six times between kindergarten and high school. [4]" Since DoDEA schools all operate under the same curriculum with the same standards and opportunities, military families do not need to worry about their children's education being disrupted by moving frequently.

A comprehensive study [5] found that these schools also provide above-average & above-standard education [6] and are specifically designed for the needs of service members' children. If closed, the students would be placed in public school systems where they would be subject to individual districts' standards, rules, curriculum and special needs programs.

Closing down the stateside DoDEA schools would save less than one percent of the overall military budget [7]. That is not worth the havoc it would cause in the lives of so many American military families.

Simply put, DoDEA schools provide better education, opportunities and stability to thousands of military families serving within the United States. Closing down the stateside DoDEA schools would not save money and would only hurt military families.

Sign the petition and let the Department of Defense know that we care too much about military families to take away such a basic, fundamental element such as education. The DoDEA schools must be kept open!

MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE

1. U.S. Department of Defense. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://www.dodea.edu/aboutDodea/

2. Jowers, K. (2017, November 13). Pentagon may stop running stateside schools for military children. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.navytimes.com/newsletters/pay-benefits/2017/11/13/pentagon-may-stop-running-state-side-schools-for-military-children/

3. Military.com. (n.d.). DoD Education Activity Schools. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/military-resources/dod-education-activity-schools.html

4. Richmond, E. (2015, June 22). Schools on U.S. military installations raising standards, tracking students beyond high school. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://hechingerreport.org/schools-on-u-s-military-installations-raising-standards-tracking-students-beyond-high-school/

5. Goldman, C. A., Karam, R., Katz, B., Tsai, T., Mullins, L., & Winkler, J. D. (2016, September 13). Options for Educating Students Attending Department of Defense Schools in the United States. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR855.html

6. Richmond, E. (2015, June 22). Schools on U.S. military installations raising standards, tracking students beyond high school. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://hechingerreport.org/schools-on-u-s-military-installations-raising-standards-tracking-students-beyond-high-school/

7. Flanagan, M. (2017, November 15). Why Doing Away With Stateside DoDEA Schools Will Hurt Military Families. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://taskandpurpose.com/away-stateside-dodea-schools-will-hurt-military-families/

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The Petition:

Department of Defense:

Since the early 1800s the military has provided schools and education to the children of service members in the United States and at military installations overseas since World War II. These schools, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, now operate in multiple states here in the United States and provide preschool through 12th grade education to tens of thousands of children of active duty service members.

Unfortunately, there is now a growing momentum behind the idea of closing down the stateside DoDEA schools as a cost saving measure. That would remove the students from the military schools and place them in local public school systems. This measure could save the Department of Defense millions of dollars, but that would constitute less than a single percent of the total DoD budget. Add to that the cost of those students be educated and cared for in the public school system, and it ceases to be a fiscally beneficial venture.

But while budget concerns are the reason for those who would seek to close down the DoDEA schools, there are many reasons aside from just monetary factors that would make closing DoDEA schools a poor choice for the United States and a harmful one for military families and their children.

A Rand Study in 2016 analyzing the DoDEA system as a whole found that DoDEA schools perform above the national average. Conversely, the study also found that the DoDEA schools "exist mostly in states with below-average performance on national tests, and the specific LEAs (local educational agencies) tend to rank below average within these states."

That means that children of active military personnel would be taken from schools with above-average performance and instead be given a below-average education.

There is also the stability and uniformity which DoDEA schools provide to military families. Spouses and children of service members deal with more than enough issues on their own — including frequent, repeated moves, time spent apart due to deployment and training, uncertainty about the future and more — without the government giving them one more thing to worry about.

"Nearly 1.2 million U.S. children have at least one parent in the armed forces and they move around often, switching schools an average of six times between kindergarten and high school," according to the Hechinger Report in 2015. Since DoDEA schools all operate under the same curriculum with the same standards and opportunities, military families do not need to worry about their children's education being disrupted by moving frequently.

Taking that into account, as well as the fact that each school district has its own rules, policies, guidelines, curriculum, activities and special needs opportunities, the closing of DoDEA schools would mean these students would be forced into new school systems with new standards and opportunities every time they move.

The simple fact is that DoDEA school provide better education, opportunities and stability to thousands of military families serving within the United States. Closing down the stateside DoDEA schools would not save money and would only be to the detriment of service members' children. We owe our brave men and women of the armed forces all the best that we can give them. We owe them our very freedom. The least we can do is maintain the education system that has been around since our nation's infancy.

I implore to keep all DoDEA schools open, both stateside and overseas, and ensure that the funding for these great schools is not cut. We have a duty to provide for the men and women who serve our country and to their families. We must always live up to that duty. Keep stateside DoDEA schools open.

Sincerely,

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