Military families move between postings on a regular basis. While reassignments can often be a boon for career military personnel, they often impact their families, especially their children, who face a number of issues, including the loss of friends and the need to make new ones, adjusting to new cities and bases and changing schools.
While the armed services have made great strides in easing the transition of their personnel, their spouses and, most importantly, their children, much remains to be done at the state and local levels to ensure that the children of military families are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children. Furthermore, their educational goals must not be penalized or delayed due to inflexible administrative and bureaucratic practices.
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children addresses these concerns, as well as Compact enforcement, administration, finances, communications, data sharing and training. Specific impacts on military children include:
- Educational records and enrollment: unofficial or hand-carried records, official education records and transcripts, immunizations, kindergarten and first grade entrance;
- Eligibility: power of attorney, noncustodial parents, tuition and extracurricular activities;
- Placement and attendance: course placement/educational program placement and special education services;
- Placement: placement flexibility and absence as related to deployment activities;
- Graduation: waiver requirements, exit exams and transfers during senior year.
In July 2009, the Hawaii State Legislature enacted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. That October, the Hawaii State Board of Education appointed retired Brig. Gen. Kathleen Berg as Hawaii's first Compact Commissioner. Berg's mission was to oversee the Hawaii State Council and, and facilitate the Compact between Hawaii and other member states. Berg was also served as the National Vice Chairman of the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3).
Berg, who retired from military service in 2009, brings real-life experience to her position having been both a military spouse and a recognized member of the Hawaii Air National Guard. As an educator, she has extensive experience teaching in K-12 schools with over 40 years of experience. Berg recently retired in December as the Director of the University of Hawaii Curriculum, Research and Development Group (UHCRDG). Her recent research interests have centered on transition issues affecting military-dependent students in Hawaii public schools.
Hawaii State Council
The Council serves as an advisory committee to the Commissioner on matters relating to the Compact in Hawaii. By law, the Council will include representatives from:
- Executive Branch
- Hawaii State Legislature - House and Senate Education Chairs or designee
- Department of Education - State Superintendent; Complex Area Superintendents from Radford/Moanalua Complex, Leilehua Complex, Kalaheo Complex, Leeward District, Military Liaison
- Military representatives from the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard
- Athletics Association
The Commissioner and the Military Education Liaison will oversee implementation of the Compact and are ex-officio, non-voting members (unless either are existing members of the Council). The first State Council meeting was scheduled for April 22, 2010.
Hawaii State Commissioner
Interstate Commission on Education Opportunities for Military Children
Telephone: (808) 778-2157
Cherry Torres Okahara
Hawaii Department of Education
Telephone: (808) 271-5724
For more information on the national status of the compact, visit the
national MIC3 website.