Whether you're thinking about enrolling your child in a traditional public or private school, a DoDEA school or you're currently homeschooling your child (or considering the possibility), there are many resources available to help you make informed decisions about your child's education.
Military parents can learn about the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) elementary, middle- and high schools in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS) through the DoDEA Annual Report Card System.
This system essentially evaluates each DoDEA school and provides information such as the school's proficiency and where it ranks relative to DoDEA's proficiency goals; number of students enrolled; race and gender statistics; grades served; and contact information, including the school's website.
For example, let's say you're about to make a PCS move to Fort Rucker. You have two children, a 1st grader, and a 3rd grader. Naturally, you're curious about the proficiency scores of the elementary school that your kids will attend. To learn this information, simply go to the DoDEA Annual Report Card System and select Fort Rucker Elementary School. You'll then be taken to the school's page where you'll see that for the most recent school year, the school's proficiency is 75% for reading; 70% for math; and 84% for science (compare that to DoDEA's.goal of 75% proficiency in all three subjects).
Public and Private Schools
Great Schools.org is a fantastic site for parents who are interested in researching public and private schools and/or learning about educational resources, tips, and hints.
The search feature on the site is very easy to maneuver. When conducting a search on this site, simply enter the school's name or choose a location and view the various schools within a specified radius.
Most of the listed schools are given a Great School rating, which is a number between 1-10, with ten being the highest.
Ratings are based on the school's test results relative to all the other schools in the state.
Schools also receive a community rating which ranges between 1 and 5, with five being the best. This particular rating is given by parents and students and is based on teacher quality, principal leadership and parental involvement. In addition to the rating, there's a review section where parents, students, and teachers can comment on the school.
In addition to ratings and reviews, here's what else you can expect to learn:
- School proficiency statistics for each grade
- School proficiency statistics compared to state proficiency statistics
- Number of students enrolled
- Student/teacher ratio for the school and average student/teacher ratio for the state
- Grades served
- School's contact information and URL
- Amount, the school district, spends per pupil compared to the state average
- School district information
- Homes for sale near the school
There are numerous websites and resources available to homeschoolers and parents who are considering educating their children at home. Here are a few places that you can turn to for guidance, information, and/or support from other homeschoolers.
- Homeschooling section at Military OneSource. Visitors can expect to find loads of useful information such as: legal resources, installation resources, community education resources, online resources, books and other multimedia materials such as DVDs, CDs, and videos.
- DoDEA Policy on Homeschooling. The official Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) homeschooling policy explains the expectations and requirements for parents, students, educators, and administrators. There's also an FAQ section that addresses the material in an easy to understand fashion.
Visit the Military Families Homeschooling Forum and connect with other military parents who are homeschooling their children. If you prefer a homeschooling forum that's geared for all homeschoolers (civilian and military), please visit the forum on About.com's Homeschooling site.
Updated by Armin Brott, June 2016