A Letter from a Military Spouse to Our Next President

Dear President-elect Trump,

As we approach Veterans Day, and make our way through Military Family Month, I am hoping that you will find a special opportunity to focus some of your time on our military-connected children and their educational futures. Now that the election is over, I know that you are faced with a myriad of topics, issues, measures, and situations that merit your time and attention. I encourage you to make this a priority.

As chairwoman of Military Families for High Standards – a coalition of military spouses – our mission is to ensure that each military-connected student and their family are afforded the opportunity to move from assignment to assignment across our great nation without having to deal with inconsistencies in their academic progress; without grave differences in the quality of the curriculum they are met with; and with the assurance that their educational careers are always met with offerings that lead to college readiness or career success.

We ask for consistent high standards that shape the academic resumes of our students, and standards that are measured by strong tools that can offer valuable and relevant data to our families. While this benefits any child and their parents, military-connected children use these standards and measures to seek out the best schooling option available to them at each of their six to nine moves in their k-12 academic career.

Without these, they are all too often met with disappointment.

One of the ways that you can stand behind our initiative is to put great emphasis on the Military Student Identifier. With this tool at work in every school district, military families can be assured that their school system knows a service child is enrolled and highlights the needs for programs or services.

Without this identifier, military students often are lost in the school year without anyone having knowledge of their possible needs, situations or challenges. With this simple step of identifying them as the children of our Armed Forces, educators can be aware of them and consider this in the development of each of these students.

While I am aware that you have given thought to eliminating the Department of Education, I would hope that you might reconsider that position for a variety of good reasons – but especially for our military-connected children. All students will benefit from the energy the Department of Education has put into the Every Student Succeeds Act, and military-connected students most assuredly. It has already made great gains and deserves to continue its efforts to the benefit of our young learners and their futures as young Americans.

Our military-connected children make sacrifices regularly so that their family can offer our nation their service. They merit the time and attention to assure that their educational progress is not encumbered by poor standards at new locations or measured by tools that offer little relevant or consistent data from which to make important school choice decisions.

I ask that you keep these one million military-connected children at the front of your educational decisions, as they serve our country silently, yet faithfully, and deserve the absolute support of our grateful nation. You now have the influence to ensure their academic futures and success. I hope you will use it to their best advantage.

Sincerely,

Christi Ham

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