Educating Virginia’s Military Children

Most military children attend schools in six to nine different school divisions from kindergarten to 12th grade.  Virginia has joined a number of other states in an effort to adopt consistent rules to help ease these frequent transitions.

State officials found that some special education students who transferred have encountered steep hurdles.

With 80,000 children who have one or both parents on active duty, Virginia has the largest number of students in military families of any state.  But in a briefing, the Virginia Council examining related issues learned the state has received numerous complaints about special ed transfers.  Although federal law prohibits interruption of a student’s Individualized Education Program [IEP], Council Chair and Senator John Miller said apparently, that’s not always the case.

“A child moving from Texas to Newport News has an IEP, and that IEP remains in effect and the child is supposed to continue to get services.  But sometimes, when they get to the new school system, they’re told, ‘We’ve got to do our own evaluation,’ and so all services sort of stop,” said Miller.

Other common complaints include that comparable services were not provided and that schools claimed they had insufficient resources.  A sample of schools revealed that one-third of special ed directors surveyed were not aware of the basic rules in these cases and will need additional training.

–Anne Marie Morgan

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