As there are many military families living abroad, often in places where there are little to no appropriate schools for American children, the Department of Defense offers education for these military dependent children, as well as the children of Department of Defense civilian personnel. This provides military families a chance to stay together when the military spouse is stationed overseas, allowing somewhat of a normal life for service members and their children.
The education of military dependent children overseas is handled by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. The Department of Defense Dependents Schools is actually a network of schools that provide education for military dependent children, from Kindergarten through grade 12. Headed by the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Department of Denfense Dependents Schools provides a quality education for many military dependent children who are living in other countries, such as in Germany, Japan or the United Kingdom. The children of civilian personnel are also allowed to attend these schools, but only if there is space available.
The Department of Defense Education Activity, with its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, appreciates the service of the United States Military and focuses on providing a quality education to each service member’s children while the family is stationed overseas. To keep this education equivalent to the education these children would receive in the United States, the Department of Defense Education Activity employs American teachers who are highly qualified, and curriculum programs equivalent to those used in American schools are followed. As of 2011, there are 120 Department of Defense Dependents Schools. All of these schools are located outside of the United States and are divided into two districts: Europe and the Pacific.
Although these schools provide the quality of an American education, the fact that they are overseas is not ignored when instructing the children. Students at the Department of Defense Dependents Schools are taught about the country’s culture and are encouraged to soak up all of the cultural opportunities of their surroundings. Being stationed in another country is actually a great education opportunity for children, and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools take advantage of this opportunity, while still providing a quality American education that will transfer when the family is again stationed in the United States.
In overseas locations where there are no Department of Defense Dependents Schools available, the Department of Defense often pays the tuition for military dependents to attend quality private schools to ensure the quality of their education. When there are no appropriate schools available at all, correspondence courses are available for students at the military’s expense.