Charter Schools: Guidance Needed for Military Base Schools on Startup and Operational Issues
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Many families struggle to balance their job demands with ensuring that their children have access to a high-quality education, and for military families this struggle can be exacerbated by the highly mobile nature of their service. Family concerns about education affect readiness and retention of military personnel, according to the Department of Defense DOD. The majority of children of military families in the United States attend public schools. A 2008 DOD study recommended offering military families a public charter school option in areas with poorly-performing local schools. In response to a directive in a House Appropriations Committee report, GAO examined 1 the characteristics and origins of charter schools on military installations, and 2 the challenges charter schools on military installations have faced in starting up and continuing their operations. To conduct this review, GAO interviewed officials in the eight charter schools on domestic military bases and one school being planned visited two schools interviewed Education and DOD officials and reviewed relevant federal and state laws, federal regulations and guidance, and school, federal agency, and other documents. GAO recommends that Education clarify whether military base charter schools that use enrollment preferences are eligible for charter school grants and that DOD and Education take actions to help address startup and operational challenges for these schools. In their responses, DOD and Education agreed with GAO s recommendations.
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