Exploring Why (And How) The Defense Department Does Education So Well

Many pandemic-era problems don't seem to apply to these schools. Exploring Why (And How) The Defense Department Does Education So Well Giphy

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When you think of where the Pentagon excels, you might think of military training or the procurement of state-of-the-art weapons and equipment.

A less obvious but nonetheless correct answer would be education.

Outpacing private and public schools

Educating the children of American men and women in uniform is a task that the Defense Department doesn’t take lightly … and that fact is evident in the results that such schools regularly achieve.

Take Faith Middle School in Fort Moore, Georgia, for example. Principal Amy Dilmar is well aware that education took a big blow during COVID-19, which resulted in learning loss across the board due to school closures and related factors.

Nevertheless, she has seen test scores soar in direct contradiction to the trends seen elsewhere in the nation’s education system. And she’s not alone.

Schools operated by the DOD ranked higher than all other jurisdictions in math and reading scores registered in the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam.

Furthermore, the racial and income-based disparities that have been persistent in other types of education don’t seem to be as prevalent in these schools.

What are they doing right?

As Harvard University’s Martin West explained: “If the Department of Defense schools were a state, we would all be traveling there to figure out what’s going on.”

But the secret to this success might not be easy to replicate nationwide. Experts believe that these schools are shielded from certain issues that negatively impact traditional schools due to ample funding and the natural diversity of the military.

Additionally, since the Defense Department makes decisions based on a central departmental standard, it isn’t easily swayed by school boards, cultural debates, and politics.

And since students are the kids of military personnel, each family has a home, healthcare, and at least one stable income.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee October 11th, 2023
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