Stateside Legal: The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Frequent moves and deployment can create problems for children of military families who are still in school, as a result of different rules and requirements between school districts.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children was created to help with this problem. It applies to the children of:

  • Active duty members of the uniformed services, including members of the National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders;
  • Members or veterans of the uniformed services who are severely injured and medically discharged or retired for a period of one (1) year after medical discharge or retirement; and
  • Members of the uniformed services who die on active duty or as a result of injuries sustained on active duty for a period of one (1) year after death.

The Compact does not apply to children of:

  • Inactive members of the national guard and military reserves;
  • Members of the uniformed services now retired and not covered above;

The Compact is an agreement among the States who have signed the compact to handle certain types of issues according to specific guidelines. These issues include:

  • class placement,
  • records transfer,
  • immunization requirements,
  • course placement,
  • graduation requirements,
  • exit testing, and
  • extra-curricular opportunities.

The Compact also is intended to help custodial guardians enroll children in school when their parents are deployed.

A “tool kit” explaining some of the Compact’s provisions is available here.(link is external)

The Compact has been signed by 44 states to date. A map which shows participating states and other information about the Compact is available here(link is external).

If you need help enforcing the terms of the Compact in your school district (in a State which has signed onto it), contact your State Department of Education headquarters and ask for the name and phone number of the “military family education liaison.”

If you are low-income, your local legal aid program(link is external) may also be able to provide assistance with these issues.

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