September 24, 2012: By the Numbers

September 24, 2012: By the Numbers


The percentage of children in Department of Defense K-12 schools worldwide who received special education services in the school year 2011-2012, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report --  Military Dependents: Better Oversight Needed to Improve Services for Children with Special Needs.

That 12% equals about 10,200 of the approximately 85,000 students served by 196 DoD schools around the world. The report notes that about 66% of these (130 schools) are located overseas,, "mainly concentrated in Germany and Japan, where the United States built military installations after World War II. Almost all the domestic schools are in the southeastern United States."

The GAO found that DoD schools "vary in the types and levels of disabilities they are readily equipped to serve;" the schools in Ramstein, Germany "are equipped to serve children with severe disabilities of any type, whereas schools in some other overseas installations have no pre-established special education programs of any kind."

As of the beginning of this calendar year, the GAO reported, "(T)he most prevalent disabilities among children enrolled in DOD schools were communication impairments (such as speech and language impairments), specific learning disabilities, and developmental delays, cumulatively representing about 71 percent of this population."

GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense:

(1) ensure the military branches medically and educationally screen all school-age children before relocation overseas; (2) direct OSN (Office of Special Needs) to establish benchmarks and performance goals for the EFM (Exceptional Family Member) program; and (3) direct OSN to develop and implement a process for ensuring the branches’ compliance with EFM program requirements. DOD generally agreed with the recommendations.