Reveille for Educational Choice Supporters
By Kimberly Sawatka
In case you missed it, Georgia state Senator Hunter Hill introduced Senate Bill 395, the “Junior G.I.” bill, to allow the children of active duty military, national guardsman and reservists to attend the school of their parents’ choice – using the money the state is already spending on their education in their current public school.
Unfortunately, last week the Junior G.I. bill didn’t get enough support in the Senate Education Committee to move forward this session after Chairman Tippins said he believed the bill would open “Pandora’s box.”
Children of active duty military, national guardsman and reservists are used to sacrificing a great deal throughout their tour of duty. Parents are often gone without warning and miss the major milestones like school plays, recitals, sports games and family dinners.
Military children often move every one to two years, and many times in the middle of a school year. Each duty station and new school brings new challenges such as making new friends, finding someone to eat lunch with in the school cafeteria, and most of all worrying about keeping up academically with a new set of peers.
This bill would have allowed military students to participate directly in the program, without previous public school attendance – benefiting those students and families just moving to a military base around the state of Georgia.
The military does not just enlist the service member, but the whole family – including the children. Showing support for our service members and their families by supporting military educational choice options is not only important for the children today, but for our country’s well-being tomorrow. Supporting educational choice bills like this one, and broader legislation, is the only way that ALL children will succeed in their education.