Legislative objective: Retain, relief for military families

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Children readingA proposal now before Congress would enhance the educational opportunities for children in military families as well as contribute to the retention of qualified soldiers.

A majority of military personnel say frequent relocation adds to the challenges of their children's education. A Republican member of Congress – a military veteran himself – acknowledges that those who serve in the armed forces make sacrifices daily. "But the education of their children should not be one of them," says Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana.

Banks introduced the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act (H.R.5199) on March 7, the goal being to allow parents of eligible military dependent children to establish ESAs. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate the following week by Senators Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina).

Portability, said Banks, is key for students who are often required to move because of a change in their parent's military assignment. "The flexibility in this legislation will allow military families the freedom to tailor their children's education to best fit individual needs and maximize academic achievement," says the congressman.

Peter Murphy of the Invest in Education Foundation agrees, saying H.R.5199 would enhance military life and help retain qualified soldiers.

"So being mindful of children's education is just one of a number of factors in keeping people who we want in the military and keeping it ready and able to defend our country," he tells OneNewsNow.

In a column for Townhall.com, Murphy points out that there are only six states with ESAs. He argues that the federal government is uniquely qualified to provide children in military families with a federal ESA.

"We want to see something like this happen this year because you don't want to put this issue off," he adds. "... This is something the military is in favor of."

The government reports there are approximately 750,000 school-age children of active-duty military personnel. About 80 percent are educated in public school districts near the assigned base of their parents.

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