As their children may change schools an average of nine times before graduating from high school, military families are pressed to make education-related decisions when making permanent-change-of-station (PCS) moves. Traditional public schools offer the most viable and practical choice most of the time, according to a March 8 report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Other alternatives include charter or magnet schools for 90 percent of all military families. Options decrease significantly in rural locales, however, according to the GAO.
These options are comparable to those faced by the overall population. Also like their civilian counterparts, military families make decisions as to where they will live by weighing several factors. Academics and extracurricular activities weigh heavily, with some families willing to accept longer commutes to their duty stations as a tradeoff for better opportunities for their school-age children. Safety and elective courses also are considered. In making such decisions, families rely upon personal networks and social media for reliable information.
GAO conducted the study to determine what challenges the roughly 650,000 dependent children of service members face as they undergo so many moves during their secondary education.