More than 66,000 Military B.R.A.T.s are enrolled in 160 schools located in 11 foreign countries, seven U.S. states and two territories. Additionally, more than 8,000 educators teach these students.
These schools have served military families dating back to World War II, including a bunch of famous people like actors Mark Hamill (Kinnick High School in Yokohama, Japan), Julianne Moore (Frankfurt High School in Germany) and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal (Fulda Am. High School in Germany).
Three U.S. senators — Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) this week introduced legislation that would maintain a maximum student-to-teacher ratio at Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools around the world.
Included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, that maximum teacher-to-student ratio for grades K-3 was set at 1:18 and approximately 1:24 for grades 3-12, but the requirement is set to expire this year.
Numerous studies have shown that maintaining smaller teacher-student ratios ensures quality education for students.
“Military families often travel around the United States and the world, and they deserve the peace of mind that their children are receiving a high-quality education designed to ensure their success,” according to Menendez. “Education is critically important, and when the student to teacher ratio is balanced, the decreased workload increases the teachers’ capacity to provide thorough services and care to each individual student.”
“Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools serve thousands of children of American servicemembers,” Kaine says. “This bill is critical to making sure students continue to get a world-class education by preventing cuts to staff and increases to class sizes.”
SUPPORT FROM TEACHERS
The National Education Association (NEA), Federal Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) support this legislation.
“Every day, DoDEA educators have a mission to ensure all military-connected students have the opportunity for an education that inspires their curiosity and enthusiasm for discovery. To meet this goal, engaging students at a high level requires class sizes that enable educators to connect one-on-one with their students,” Marc Egan, director of government relations at the National Education Association, says.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, also lauds the legislation: “DoDEA schools are homes away from home for the children of our military and diplomats, but they’re also some of the best schools in terms of academic achievement, owed in no small part to an emphasis on small class sizes. Educators are the first to tell you that reasonable class sizes allow them to give individualized attention to students, use innovative lessons, and help students develop important social skills.”