Kiera Gallagher: Challenging season for military families

Military spouse Kiera Gallaher shares in the Fayatteville Observer about the challenges facing North Carolina's military-connected families. She shares how “A Military Family’s Guide to School Transitions" a simple-to-follow online guide that walks a family through nine steps of what to do when transferring schools, can help ease or avoid potential challenges.

Daily Press: Johnson OpEd: Helping military families transition to new schools

Candy Johnson writes about the benefit of Military Families for High Standards' interactive  simple-to-follow guide, written by military spouses, that walks a family through what to do when transferring schools. Johnson explains that “A Military Family’s Guide to School Transitions" is a "tool that can empower parents to make the transition from one school to another as easy as possible."

Inside Sources: Students at Defense Department Schools Outperform Peers in Public Schools 

Jessica R. Towhey writes about how U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students outperformed their public school counterparts in the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results. Achievement gaps between demographic groups were also less pronounced in DoDEA schools. In recent years, DoDEA schools have introduced high education standards to make sure their students are ready for college and careers. Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards, cautioned though, that while the NAEP results are impressive, parents need to remain diligent, because not all military families have the option to attend DoDEA schools at all times.

medium: Recognizing the Progress We’ve Made over the Past Two Years

Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards says that, during Month of the Military Child, there will be a lot of discussion about how much more there needs to be done. And while that’s true, “it is also important to recognize the progress we’ve made.” Part of this progress, Ham notes, is the Military Student Identifier created by ESSA, which “is designed to help states and districts understand how military-connected students are performing academically.”

education post: This Black History Month Teach Your Students About African-Americans in the Military 

West Point Elementary School Assistant Principal Kelisa Wing—who also was named Department of Defense 2017 State Teacher of the Year— notes that during Black History Month, “we often forget about the Black soldiers who have served this country in the military.” As an Army veteran herself, Wing is “honored that The Association for the Study of African Life and History (ASALH) has selected African-Americans in Times of War as this year’s theme for Black History Month.” And now, as an educator, she would like to challenge other educators “to use this theme to study other champions of Black history who have served in the military such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Buffalo Soldiers, Colonel Charles Young (first African-American colonel in the U.S. Army), Colin Powell (first African-American chairman of the joint chiefs of staff), Lt. Gen. Nadja West (first Black female lieutenant general), Maj. Gen. Fred A. Gorden (first Black commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point), and many more.”

Washington examiner: the armed forces have an education problem

Even as our military seeks to expand in the face of growing global challenges, it’s become harder for our armed forces to find and retain qualified recruits, in part because of education. “In the case of new recruits, it is estimated that only about 25 percent of Americans aged 17-24 meet the current requirements to serve,” writes Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards. Those who do make it in often follow their civilian counterparts in getting married and having children. This is where the retention problem comes in. 

huff post: a discouraging report on educational progress

Military Families for High Standards Chairwoman Christi Ham highlighted the “disappointing” results of the Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners Check State Plans independent peer review of the 34 second-round state ESSA plans. While “these evaluations are important because they were a comprehensive, bipartisan look at the way states will implement their vision for educational improvement under the new law,” Ham notes that, “In many cases, state plans indicate that states plan to do little more than comply with federal law – overlooking their responsibility to provide all students with a high-quality education.” nine tips to add to your kid's school TRANSITION

A Military Family’s Guide to School Transitions has nine tips, including the following: organize school records; compile school contact information; familiarize yourself with the school curriculum; know your child’s interests; connect with school liaisons; get to know your local school board; meet with school’s special needs director; get familiar with the interstate compact; and take advantage of the plethora of military parent resources.

washington times: retaining armed forces with better schools

“Our armed forces have a manpower problem,” says retired U.S. Army general Ann Dunwoody and Military Families for High Standards Chairwoman Christi Ham. And it’s not just because of recruitment issues: retaining our current forces is equally important. But “these men and women are increasingly concerned about their choice of the military as a career,” particularly when it comes to the education of their children. While the “nomadic nature of military life” is attractive to young, single recruits, it becomes less so when service members have families. Frequent moves “take their toll in many ways,” and many military families “would prefer spending more time in one station, especially if the schools are good.” This finding is backed up by a Military Times survey from earlier this year, which asked current and former military personnel questions on education issues.

HuffPost: The Military Student Identifier May Be a Game-Changer for Many Helping Military-Connected Children

Chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards Christi Ham wants “to take a few minutes to look at one of the most interesting developments in recent history regarding military-connected children—the creation of the military student identifier (MSI).” This provision of the ESSA law “promises to give states the ability to help ensure the success of military-connected children in our public schools across the country.” Through the MSI, “administrators will gain new insights on their military-connected learners, including academic progress and proficiency, special and advanced program participation, mobility and dropout rates, and patterns over time across states and districts lines.”

Proceedings today: educating kids is a readiness issue

Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen and National Math + Science Initiative Vice President of State and Federal Programs Marcus Lingenfelter write that one “key factor in the degradation of military readiness involves a very personal element: service members and their young families.” If you ask any service member, “he or she will tell you that the quality of education for their children is of top priority.” 

huffpost: why we fight

Military Families for High Standards Chairwoman Christi Ham recently reviewed the results of two recent polls  - Education Next and Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) -  regarding Americans’ attitudes toward education policy and shared her thoughts on HuffPost. "These results are very important. They show that the public supports high-quality, consistent educational opportunities. They also support assessments that show whether or not our kids are learning what they are supposed to know," says Ham. 

huffpost: Sharing Essential Knowledge Is Essence of Military Student Identifier

Chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards Christi Ham discusses how challenging it can be to ensure a consistent, high-quality educational experience for military-connected students, whose families, on average, move “up to nine times during a child’s K-12 years.” But until recently, there has been little hard data—just “anecdotal conclusions at best”—regarding this significant group of U.S. students. The “sharing of knowledge,” writes Christi Ham, “is vital for educators devising new policies that guide the education of 1.2 million children of U.S. service members.”

real clear education: making life easier for the new kids in class

Christi Ham, chairwoman for Military Families for High Standards, highlights four recommendations from the Lexington Institute Report aimed at making new school transitions for military-connected students easier. Ham discusses her own experiences as a military spouse and her undeniable need to have you kids attend the best schools available. 

HuffPost: summertime brings challenges to military families   

Most kids look forward to the summer. No school, more time with friends, and family trips to the beach. But for many military families summer isn’t always as easy. Christi Ham, chairwoman for Military Families for High Standards, delves into the myriad of challenges these families face when making a move depending on the distance, age of their children, and registration deadlines – just to name a few.

The hill: Children in Military Families need more support   

Collaborative for Student Success Executive Director Jim Cowen amplifies one of the major challenges facing our nation’s military families. “What sets military families apart in terms of the education of their children is that they are highly nomadic — military-connected students attend as many as nine schools during their K-12 years. As a result, more than one million military-connected children, most of whom attend public schools, change schools at a rate far exceeding that of their civilian counterparts,” Cowen writes. 

huffpost: get ready for that next move   

To help navigate military family's educational concerns pertaining to new school transitions, Military Families for High Standards has compiled a helpful new document titled, A Military Family’s Guide to School Transitions. “These tools help them navigate through the chaos that inevitably comes when they prepare to move to their next adventure.” Unfortunately, “finding a guide for choosing the school that’s right for our children or getting them prepared for that new school in a new state,” hasn’t always been easily available, Christi Ham, chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards writes. 


National Military Family Association: "The Common Core: What Do Military Families Need to Know?" 

"At one time, almost every military family had a story about moving to a new school district only to find their children were far ahead – or far behind – because standards in their old and new school were so different. The Common Core addresses this problem by implementing a uniform set of high standards, so kids and their families know what is expected when they move to a new school."

The Hill: "High Education Standards and the US Military"

“The news is filled with stories about how U.S. children are slipping way behind other countries when it comes to key educational benchmarks. But the corollary is that these children grow up -- and as a result of the poor or inconsistent education standards in their younger years, many Americans don't have the grounding to be successful in higher education without remedial classes.”

The Daily Caller: "The Army’s Number One Need For The Future: Smarter Recruits"

"The U.S. Army is facing one of its greatest threats since it became an all-volunteer force back in 1973. The failure of our education systems to produce well-educated, high-school graduates is threatening its ability to protect our country."

U.S. News & World Report: “Military Families Need Common Core”

“One of the lessons quickly learned by U.S. military service members is that you move. And move often. On average, a service member moves every two to three years. For those with a family, this can mean six to nine different schools at as many bases during a child’s elementary and high school years…”

St Louis Post Dispatch: “How to keep the Army in Missouri: Improve the schools”

“If local communities want to hedge against future troop cuts in our area, they should pay very close attention to the quality of schools in and around military installations, because the Army certainly is…”