By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse

For military families who have ever faced the prospect of low quality education options at their assigned duty station, legislation proposed in Washington D.C. is sure to be welcome news.

Military Kids & Education

The Military Education Savings Act of 2018, introduced by U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Tim Scott (R-SC) would create an opt-in for mil-families to establish Military Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to help fund their child’s education.

Most mil-families stress over assignments to areas known for lower quality education. Low test scores and low rankings on websites such as GreatSchools.org cause many military families to consider private schools and home schooling over public schools. But the high cost for these top-quality education options is often prohibitive for many families and fifty percent of military kids live in states with no formal school choice options.

Proposed Legislation

This new legislation would amend Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, allowing military families to redirect a portion of their per-pupil Impact Aid allocation into an education savings account (ESA) to pursue alternative education opportunities.

“This bill lets parents customize their kids’ education, letting them find the opportunities that fit their family’s needs,” said Sasse. “All of us should want to make sure that the decision to defend our freedom doesn’t mean kids miss out on the best education options available. These men and women deserve our best, and their kids do too.”

Education Savings Accounts

Each fall military families fill out Impact Aid survey forms which result in local school districts receiving federal funds based on the number of military children enrolled. This new bill would allow individual families to redirect a portion of that money into a separate education savings account (ESA).

“While our service members are putting their lives on the line to protect and defend our freedom, it is absolutely important for us to give them more options and tools so that their children can receive a quality education,” said Scott. “As someone who lived on an Air Force base as a kid, I know firsthand how important it is for parents to have options when it comes to their child’s education. The Military Education Savings Act will ensure our brave men and women in our nation’s Armed Forces have access to the best possible education for their children.”

The Impact

Military families know all too well that for the service member to wear the uniform, the whole family must serve along side them.  The impacts of military life on our children, especially when it comes to education, ranks right up there with PCSing and deployments as one of the top stressors for our mil-families.  This new legislation, to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 allowing mil-families to establish Military Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), could be a great option for military families faced with less than desirable education options at their assigned duty station.

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PCSgrades Author: Carla OlivoPCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.