Military Parents' Perceptions of Public School Support for Their Children

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This study examined how military-connected (MC) and nonmilitary parents perceive civilian schools' climate, schools' encouragement of parental involvement, problems in school, their needs in school, and their school satisfaction. The sample comprised 3,914 parents from eight school districts in the San Diego area. The parents completed the core and MC parent modules of the California School Climate Survey for Parents. Approximately 10 percent identified themselves as MC. Military parents provided significantly more negative assessments of schools' climate and encouragement for parental involvement compared with nonmilitary parents in the same schools. Nevertheless, they saw fewer violence problems in schools compared with nonmilitary parents. Military parents' most pressing need was for information on educational resources for military families. Although military parents were satisfied with many aspects of the school, a relatively large proportion expressed dissatisfaction with a sense of connection to other families in the school, the degree of understanding that staff showed them, and the responsiveness of the school administration to their concerns. Educators and social workers may need more training regarding military culture and the needs of military students and families. Programs should be developed to effectively involve military parents in schools and address their needs.


This article was originally published in Children & Schools, volume 36, issue 1, in 2014.

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Oxford University Press