The Military Child Education Coalition works to address the life and education transition and mobility issues of military-connected children through programs, services, and resources designed to empower parents, educators, other supportive adults and the students themselves.
Each year, April is designated as Month of the Military Child. Reserved for celebrating the resiliency of military-connected children and for their tremendous service and sacrifice, this year’s Month of the Military Child comes at a time when military-connected children and their families are faced with altogether new challenges.
Measures put in place to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis mean most military school-aged children around the country are at home, and many of their parents’ Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders are on hold. Military children’s stories hold even more significance at this time.
MCEC President and CEO, Dr. Rebecca Porter, is mindful of the vulnerabilities and disruption to the lives of military families brought about by COVID-19, and acknowledges that the current environment further highlights the unique qualities and enduring spirit of military kids throughout the month.
“During Month of the Military Child we want to focus attention on the resilience and adaptiveness of military children. At the same time, it is imperative to acknowledge the additional stress and uncertainty introduced into their lives due to COVID-19,” said Porter.
Porter points out the opportunity we have to learn from military children about handling change.
“We’re all learning to live with uncertainty in a dynamic environment. For military-connected children who move six to nine times during their K-12 years, change is a constant. I think military kids can teach us a lot about sacrifice and adjustment. Month of the Military Child allows us to take stock of and learn from the experts - military kids,” said Porter.
For more than 20 years, MCEC has been helping military kids and their families make sense of the complexities of transition. Balancing COVID-19 support and giving a voice to military kids as part of the Month of the Military Child, MCEC is planning various digital initiatives:
Weekly podcasts featuring the stories of military kids.
• Weekly podcasts and social media posts to highlight MCEC program managers and teams and their programs.
• Shared stories from families and students on social media.
• MCEC annual Call for the Arts to provide a creative outlet to express feelings and emotions in coping with COVID-19.
• MCEC new online learning series, Navigating Change, plus supportive resources and information on MCEC COVID-19 Response webpage.
According to Education Week, 124,000 U.S. public and private schools and 55.1 million students have been affected by COVID-19. The lasting impact on America’s education system remains to be seen. Month of the Military Child is a reminder for military-connected parents, students, and educators to voice the education issues they see as important by participating in the MCEC Military Kids NOW Education Survey.
Demographically, military-connected children comprise nearly two million military-connected students. Almost every school district in America includes military-connected students and youth whose parents serve or served in the Active, Guard, and Reserve components of the Armed Forces. Over 80% of these students attend U.S. public schools while less than 8% attend Department of Defense schools.