April is “The Month of the Military Child,” and serves as a reminder that military children serve our country alongside their parents and face challenges that most other students don’t think about, let alone experience themselves. Each military child deserves the chance to flourish in an education environment that best leverages their unique learning style and cultivates their talents. Unfortunately, while service members fight and defend our freedoms abroad, military families are too often denied education freedom at home.
The Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) proposal would make a historic investment in America’s students, injecting up to $5 billion yearly into state-based scholarships to empower families with education freedom. Under the proposal, taxpayers who make voluntary contributions to state-identified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) will be eligible to receive a non-refundable, dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit. Those contributions will fund scholarships that families can direct to the education opportunities that best serve their child.
A 2017 Lexington Institute and Collaborative for Student Success report revealed that a lack of high-quality options for military families “often restricts educational opportunities, negatively impacts educational achievement, causes military families to make tough housing choices, inhibits quick assimilation into school communities, and can reduce a military family’s satisfaction with a military career.” EFS could empower military families with the freedom to decide which education services and supports their children need to thrive.
A 2017 EdChoice survey of active-duty service members, veterans, and their spouses found overwhelming support for education scholarship accounts (ESAs) (72%), vouchers (64%), and tax-credit scholarships (63%) when informed how options work. Military families also homeschool their children at a higher rate compared to all students.
According to a 2017 Military Times survey, 35 percent of readers (largely active-duty military families) said that dissatisfaction with their children’s education was a “significant factor” in their decision to remain in or leave military service. 40 percent of respondents said that they “have either declined or would decline a career-advancing job at a different installation to remain at their current military facility because of high performing schools.”