Interstate Compact for Military Children
The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (SSB 5248) passed in 2009 by the Washington State Legislature, aims to reduce the educational and emotional issues encountered when the children of military personnel are required to transfer from schools in one state to another. The goal of the law is to provide as much consistency as possible with other states relative to school policies and procedures, while honoring the existing laws that govern public education in our state. The law:
- Applies to public schools only.
- Addresses key transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.
- Pertains to children of active duty members of the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders, and Members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year are eligible for assistance under the compact
The provisions apply to the following military children:
- Active duty members of the uniformed services as defined in this compact, including members of the national guard and reserve on active duty orders pursuant to 10 U.S.C. Secs. 1209 and 1211.
- Members or veterans of the uniformed services who are severely injured and medically discharged or retired for a period of one year after medical discharge or retirement.
- 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 year after death.
The provisions do NOT apply to: inactive members of the National Guard and Reserves; members of the uniformed services now retired; veterans of the uniformed services; other U.S. Department of Defense personnel and other federal agency civilian and contract employees not defined as active duty members of the uniformed services.
Educational Records and Enrollment
- Unofficial or “hand-carried” education records. In the event that official education records cannot be released to the parents for the purpose of transfer, the custodian of the records in the sending state shall prepare and furnish to the parent a complete set of unofficial educational records containing uniform information as determined by the Interstate Commission. Upon receipt of the unofficial education records by a school in the receiving state, the school shall enroll and appropriately place the student based on the information provided in the unofficial records pending validation by the official records, as quickly as possible.
- Official education records/transcripts. Simultaneous with the enrollment and conditional placement of the student, the school in the receiving state shall request the student’s official education record from the school in the sending state. Upon receipt of this request, the school in the sending state will process and furnish the official education records to the school in the receiving state within ten (10) days or within such time as is reasonably determined under the rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission.
- Immunizations. Compacting states shall give thirty (30) days from the date of enrollment or within such time as is reasonably determined under the rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission, for students to obtain any immunization(s) required by the receiving state. For a series of immunizations, initial vaccinations must be obtained within thirty (30) days or within such time as is reasonably determined under the rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission.
- Kindergarten and first grade entrance age. Students shall be allowed to continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving state commensurate with their grade level (including Kindergarten) from a local education agency in the sending state at the time of transition, regardless of age. A student that has satisfactorily completed the prerequisite grade level in the local education agency in the sending state shall be eligible for enrollment in the next highest grade level in the receiving state, regardless of age. A student transferring after the start of the school year in the receiving state shall enter the school in the receiving state on their validated level from an accredited school in the sending state.
Placement and Attendance
- Course placement. When the student transfers before or during the school year, the receiving state school shall initially honor placement of the student in educational courses based on the student’s enrollment in the sending state school and/or educational assessments conducted at the school in the sending state if the courses are offered. Course placement includes, but is not limited to: Honors, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, vocational, technical and career pathways courses. Continuing the student’s academic program from the previous school and promoting placement in academically and career challenging courses should be paramount when considering placement. This does not preclude the school in the receiving state from performing subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement and continued enrollment of the student in the course(s)
- Educational program placement. The receiving state school shall initially honor placement of the student in educational programs based on current educational assessments conducted at the school in the sending state or participation/placement in like programs in the sending state. Such programs include, but are not limited to: (1) gifted and talented programs; and (2) English as a second language (ESL). This does not preclude the school in the receiving state from performing subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement of the student.
- Eligibility for enrollment. A local education agency shall be prohibited from charging local tuition to a military child placed in the care of a non-custodial parent or other person standing in loco parentis who lives in a jurisdiction other than that of the custodial parent. (ie) A military child, placed in the care of a non-custodial parent or other person standing in loco parentis who lives in a jurisdiction other than that of the custodial parent, may continue to attend the school in which he/she was enrolled while residing with the custodial parent.
- Eligibility for extracurricular participation. State and local education agencies shall facilitate the opportunity for military children’s inclusion in extracurricular activities, regardless of application deadlines, to the extent they are otherwise qualified.
Graduation Exit Exams
States shall accept:
- Exit or end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending state;
- National norm-referenced achievement tests, or
- Alternative testing, in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving state. In the event the above alternatives cannot be accommodated by the receiving state for a student transferring in his or her senior year.
Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
A guide for Parents, School Officials and Public Administrators
Each April, the Department of Defense recognizes the 1.8 million military children and youth under 18 with The Month of the Military Child celebration.