The University of Northern Iowa College of Education has joined an initiative created by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) called Operation Educate the Educators. Its goal is to better prepare educators to work with military-connected children. Joining the initiative is consistent with the COE’s Strategic Goal 1: Lead the state and nation by developing highly effective professionals prepared to educate, serve, and lead future generations.
Although Iowa does not have an active duty military installation, there were nearly 11,000 children with a parent in the military in the state in 2010 (MCEC). A 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Defense indicates 1 million parents had been deployed as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Fifty percent of these parents had served two or more tours, with 21% having been deployed three or more times.
There are children with a parent in the military in all 99 Iowa counties, but the small numbers in some counties (9 counties with fewer than 20) may make it difficult for children to connect with other children with similar experiences. School personnel with an awareness of the experiences, needs, and strengths of military-connected children can offer the support some students with parents in the military need to be successful.
For more information about the experiences of military-connected children and specific ways to support them, access the following resources.
Operation Educate the Educators
Military Child Education Coalition
Military One Source
The National Traumatic Stress Network