The Military Student Identifier: What is it and Why is it Good for Military Kids?

classroom of kids

On December 10, the President signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a sweeping overhaul of federal education policy. Tucked away in the massive piece of legislation is a small provision that will have a big impact on military-connected children. The bill establishes a national military student identifier that will provide much-needed data on how military children are doing in school and how teachers and school officials can better support them.  Read on for more information about the identifier and what it means for military children in our nation’s public schools.

What is the military student identifier and why is it important?

Common sense tells us that the military lifestyle affects military-connected children – both positively and negatively. Military kids experience frequent moves, long separations from their service member parent, and other challenges associated with life in the military. It makes sense that these experiences affect military kids’ academic achievement. However, there’s no way to know for sure because we have no data to tell us how military kids are doing in school. The military student identifier will provide much needed information about how military kids are doing as a group, in the same way performance is tracked for different genders or ethnic groups. With more data about military kids’ attendance, achievement on standardized tests and graduation rates, school officials will be able to better direct resources to support them. The data will not identify individual students.

How will the identifier work?

Congress did not provide many details in the provision, so it will be up to the Department of Education to create a policy and communicate it to school districts. Most likely schools will be directed to include a question about military affiliation on enrollment or registration forms. Several states already collect this information.

Who is covered under the student identifier?

The legislation only applies to children of active duty service members. Congress gave states the option of also including children of National Guard and Reserve if they choose to do so.

Our Association has long supported the creation of a military student identifier. We feel strongly it will provide much needed information about military kids’ academic achievements and help ensure our kids receive the support they need to succeed in school. We thank Congress and the President for taking this important step to benefit military kids and their families.

Posted December 10, 2015

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