The Legislature enacted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (compact) in 2009 to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families due to frequent moves and deployment of their parents.
Article VIII of the compact requires each member state to have a state council to coordinate compliance with the provisions of the compact. The membership of the state council must, at a minimum include:
The state council appoints the military family education liaison to assist military families and the state in facilitating the implementation of the compact.
The Purple Star Award is created to recognize military friendly schools that show a commitment to students and families connected to the nation's military. This award shall be awarded every two years beginning in 2023.
To be considered for a Purple Star Award, a school or school district on behalf of a school, must submit an application to the state council. The state council must consider a school for the award if it applies and completes all the required activities and at least one optional activity.
The required activities are:
The staff point of contact must work jointly with the state military family education liaison; serve as the primary liaison between military families and the school; complete professional development on special considerations for military students and families; and identify and inform teachers of military-connected students in their classrooms and the special considerations they should receive.
The optional activities are:
The state council must:
PRO: One of the biggest stressors for military-connected families is not knowing what educational opportunities exist for their children after they move. Many of these children have to attend multiple schools. This award will recognize schools that are addressing these students' needs and well-being. This award is already available at certain schools and throughout the country, but it should be available statewide in Washington. The compact helps military-connected families, but it is not exhaustive. The award provides a common framework and makes sure that these students get the extra social and emotional support they need. It helps level the playing field for these students. Recipients of the award would demonstrate a commitment to offering targeted professional development and creating a welcoming environment.
CON: The bill requires the state council to grant the purple star award, which could create an inherent conflict because the state council coordinates compliance with the provisions of the compact. The management of the award could be through an entity other than the state council.