I had the honor of attending a half-day conference at the White House last month celebrating the Operation Educate the Educators program, a joint initiative of AACTE and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) to better prepare school personnel to meet the needs of military-connected children.
The April 13 event marked not only the Month of the Military Child but also the 5-year anniversary of Joining Forces, a critical initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden to support military families’ health, education, and employment. Operation Educate the Educators is a key player in the education component, comprising an impressive array of programming at more than 100 AACTE member institutions and others across the country. Biden also spoke on a related panel earlier in the week at the American Educational Research Association conference.
From left to right: Jeannie Oakes, University of California – Los Angeles; Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden; Mary Keller, Military Child Education Coalition; Catherine Bradshaw, University of Virginia; Ron Avi Astor, University of Southern California
During the American Education Research Association (AERA) 2016 annual meeting last week, Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden was a featured panelist in a session on military-connected students in PK-12 schools. Stressing the need for more research and additional support for these students, Biden reflected on her visits with military families around the world and the commonly overlooked needs of military-connected students.
Other panelists discussed their research on military-connected students as well as the need to ensure teachers are prepared to address the needs of these students. Mary Keller, president and CEO of the Military Child Education Coalition, joined Biden in discussing some of the transformative work that colleges of education have embarked on through the Operation Educate the Educators partnership with AACTE to ensure teachers are prepared to meet the needs of military-connected students.