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Supporting Military Families . . . .

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 1:30 pm

Studies show that over a third of the personnel currently leaving military service early report that disruption of their children’s education is a primary reason. Public school teachers in traditional Navy towns like Coronado, Pensacola, and Norfolk often make extra efforts to mitigate the unique challenges facing military kids. I was saved, and didn’t know it was happening, when I barely made it back in February to graduate with my Coronado High School Class, of 1944. Some years later a favorite teacher told me they discovered I was missing a required half credit, lost somewhere among all the forwarded transcripts. They graduated me anyway. In retrospect, they probably knew my father was away in the Pacific war theater.

Back in that day we “only” had to make it through five years of World War II. My daughters endured much more of Vietnam. And now it has been 17 years of obscure combat in obscure places. The current military deployments to danger zones are repeated 6, 8, as often as 10 times. Their children are growing up with parents chronically gone, and gone, and gone.

Two wonderful pieces of legislation benefiting the school-age children of active duty service members are reported by a New York Times editorial to be stuck in congressional committees, since March. Who knew? No doubt they are caught in a pile up of bills that have been lost to the distractions of impeachment and escalating international aggression.

The Educational Savings Accounts for Military Families Act would provide $1.2 billion for private school tuition, home schooling, tutoring, college prep classes, and online courses. The Choice Act would authorize $10 million a year for similar benefits. These bills most certainly support personnel retention, as well as child welfare.

Let us do what we can. If you share my concern for these issues, I suggest getting after our Congressional Representatives. They need to return to attending to the business of the American people. They need to hear from voters. They need to support our military families, the Americans who will most directly carry the burden if the current dangerous dysfunction in Washington blows up into more real trouble.

This is contact information for our locals in the House of Representatives. I am advised personal phone calls are more effective than emails, which can back up unread by the hundreds.

Susan Davis, District 53, 202-225-2040

Scott Peters, District 52, 202-225-0508

Juan Vargas, District 51, 202-225-8045

It took me just 13 minutes to contact all three offices. Each phone was answered on the first ring by staff who graciously recorded my message, which ended with: “I am listing your phone number in the Coronado paper with a piece about the failure of Congress to follow through on this critical legislation.”

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