Choice: Better Than a Simple Thank-You for Military Families

Another Veterans Day has come and gone. As nice as all the free doughnuts, meals, and haircuts were, even nicer was a simple statement—“Thank you for your service”—often tendered with a handshake. At least that is the opinion of this writer, himself a veteran of military service.

Nevertheless, there is something that would be nicer yet for the parents of 750,000 school-age children in active-duty households: making it simpler for them to ensure their children can find a good education amid the frequent relocations that are a part of the military life.

A recent Military Times study found 35 percent of parents in military service said the quality of education available to their children is a “significant factor” in deciding whether to stay in or depart from the military.

The dedication of military parents to securing the best possible schooling for their children shines through in a recent survey completed for EdChoice, an Indianapolis-based education-reform organization. Compared with non-military parents’ responses recorded in a 2016 study of national attitudes toward education, military-connected parents were more than twice as likely to have made such sacrifices for their kids as taking an additional job, moving to be closer to a particular school, or shelling out for transportation to get their children to a decent school.

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About 80 percent of military-connected kids attend district public schools – in many cases, those closest to the base and to which they have been assigned. However, if those families had free choice, those numbers would shake out far differently. The EdChoice survey found just 35 percent of the military parents would choose a conventional public school, while…