National Military Charter Schools
Educational achievement is a concern for parents, and military parents are no exception. The quality of K-12 education available can affect retention, mission readiness, and morale. Military families frequently indicate that the quality of education available is one of the most important criteria when relocating to a new community. DoD understands elementary and secondary education is under the jurisdiction of the state and local governments. However, a significant element of family readiness is an educational system that provides not only a quality education but also one that recognizes and responds to the unique needs of children of military families (U.S. Department of Defense, 2012b). Charter schools are one option military families may choose for their children, if the state in which they reside allows charter schools and if there is local capacity.
Military Charter Schools
The Department of Education (ED) defines a charter school as a school “providing free public elementary and/or secondary education to eligible students under a specific charter granted by the state legislature or other appropriate authority, and designated by such authority to be a charter school” (Chen, 2011). Currently, 42 states and the District of Columbia have legislation allowing for charter schools 2012).
There are currently seven charter schools located on military installations in the U.S. in six different states. These charter schools are:
Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy, Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB), Arkansas; Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; Manzanita Public Charter School, Vandenberg AFB, California; Wheatland Charter Academy, Beale AFB, California; Sigsbee Charter School, Naval Air Station Key West, Florida; Belle Chasse Academy, Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Station New Orleans, Louisiana; Imagine Andrews Public Charter School, Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility, Maryland.