The University of South Carolina’s College of Education has signed up to join Operation Educate the Educators, answering the call to help local schools meet the needs of military-connected students.
The initiative is a partnership between the Military Children Education Coalition (MCEC) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). USC is one of only 90 institutions across the country tapped to participate in the program.
Operation Educate the Educators falls under the umbrella of the Obama Administration’s Joining Forces program started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice-president Joe Biden.
The purpose of the program is to bring awareness to educators about the unique school-related needs of military-connected students (pre-kindergarten-12) and their families.
Through the partnership, USC will:
• Develop a network of faculty contacts to collect and disseminate information that will prepare teachers to support military-connected children; and
• Develop or recommend training and tools for participating schools so that 10,000 pre-service and graduate professionals are better equipped to support military-connected children.
Lemuel Watson, dean of USC’s College of Education said he and the faculty are excited to be involved in such an important initiative that touches hundreds of military families in South Carolina.
“The College of Education is at the center of a dynamic community and through our partnerships and collaborations we aspire to renew hope in the power of education and how it might transform our students, families and communities. With so many military families in the area, we must work to adjust and adapt to understand the unique challenges and gifts that our students bring to classroom,” Watson said.
Educating military-connected students presents a unique problem as active duty families’ move every two to three years, approximately three times more often than civilian families.
Military-connected children often have difficulty adjusting to curriculum and instructional methods or school climate and culture that may differ from school to school.
There are currently 2,000,000 military-connected children in America, and more than 80 percent of them attend Pre-K-12 public schools.