Our armed forces members shouldn’t have to worry about the education of their children


The Pentagon and Department of Defense Education Activity — the agency that administers schools for military dependents — have announced plans to furlough teachers and classroom aides up to five days the upcoming school year and Educational Support Professionals (ESPs) as many as 11 days, forfeiting valuable class time and learning for the children of our armed forces members.

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Send an email to your elected officials telling them to stop furloughs to DoD-school educators. Click here ›

Any furloughs of DoDEA school-level faculty and support staff would do serious harm to the quality of education the children of our military members receive. The last thing the men and women of our armed forces should have to worry about while on the front lines protecting our nation is the education of their children.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on Thursday urged Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to reject any plans to furlough Department of Defense educators, saying the furloughs would be “disruptive to military families, causing children to lose school days and other vital educational services even as their parents are fighting overseas.”

Senator Warner is asking other Senators to join him by signing on to a letter asking Secretary Hagel to ensure these furloughs don’t happen. Click here to find your Senators’ phone numbers and ask them to sign on to Sen. Warner’s letter today!

High school math teacher and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel added his words of warning, stating:

I was deeply disturbed to learn that sequestration could interrupt the education of K-12 students in Department of Defense-run schools in the United States and overseas.

Shortening the school year by even one day could do irreparable harm to tens of thousands of students in DoD-run schools. In addition to classroom instruction, they would lose learning time essential to their preparation for postsecondary education and success in the global economy of the 21st century.

DoD-run schools provide an excellent education — students’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the “nation’s report card,” exceed the national average. During past crises, they stayed open because teachers and education support professionals were designated “critical” or “essential” — for example, the U.S. government shutdown in 1996; discussions of eliminating or curtailing services to reduce U.S. government spending in Congress these last two years; and the threat of a complete nuclear meltdown when a tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima power plant in 2011.

To ensure DoD-run schools remain open in the event of sequestration, I urge you to classify DoDEA school-level personnel as “critical” — the services they provide are indeed critical to the future of our nation. The parents of the children who attend these schools have pledged to protect our nation with their lives, if necessary. They deserve uninterrupted access to great public schools.

Click here to send an email to your elected officials telling them to support our troops and reject furloughs to DoD-school educators.

Reader Comments

  1. Sharon, from one military family I would like to thank you for your comment. It is people like you that military families appreciate. After serving in the Marine Corps for almost 12 years the last thing my husband wants to worry about is our children’s education. This is the most selfish, ignorant, and unexplainable decision the Secretary of Defense has made. To take away from our children after all we have endured is just wrong. I am only one person but I am definitely getting the word out there that this cannot happen and budget cuts should never affect innocent children.

    Thank you,
    The Bean Family

  2. If you want a better country, than you need a better (or the best) educational system. Charter schools are not the answer. The answer is a strong quality public education system from pre-school through college–and anyone who has served in the armed services deserves this more than anyone else–they should never have to come home and worry about paying for their education–even through college–they served us and we should serve them–they deserve the best money can buy.

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