Army will evaluate schools near installations, area districts respond
Updated: Wednesday, November 6 2013, 09:53 PM MST
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- The Army is taking a closer look at schools near installations.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced he wants an evaluation of every school near an installation.
"The first thing that folks do, at least in the military from what I've heard, when they're looking at their assignment opportunities, they ask other families about their experience at a school," said El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
If a school near an Army installation is underperforming, Odierno wants to know about it.
"We don't have a problem with them looking into it. We hope that we score very highly," Cabrera said.
Odierno warned that if communities want to keep the military in their area, their schools must be up to par.
"This is one of my top three priorities, is a relationship with Fort Bliss," Cabrera said.
Ten percent, or around 6,000, of the students in EPISD come from military families.
"You can only imagine that they're here for a short time and then, part of the time they're here, their father or their mother is deployed and that impacts their ability, I think, to be focused on school everyday," Cabrera said.
Cabrera said the district has taken steps and is working to implement even more to better serve military students.
"We've invested, out of our own general funds, we have 17 military family liaisons that are at the campus, 17 different campuses that have a percentage of military kids," Cabrera said.
The Army said it will collect its data from publicly available sources and find out how schools are performing based on their own state's standards.
"They (the Army) haven't approached us about the system they're going to use or how they're gong to rate us, but we'd be more than open to whatever information they want to get their hands on and maybe they'll give us opportunities for improvement," Cabrera said.