Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Medium.
Today, we received an important message from space:
As a proud military mom, and grandmother to military-connected children, I couldn’t agree more with Captain Scott Kelly. We have asked a lot of our military families and I believe they deserve the very best efforts of each of us to show them how much we appreciate their service to our country. That is why First Lady Michelle Obama and I started Joining Forces four years ago: to unite non-profits, schools, foundations, businesses, associations, and Americans of every stripe around this initiative to support these families -- not just in word on Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day, but with good deeds and best efforts, each and every day of the year.
One of the first groups that Michelle and I partnered with to launch Joining Forces was the National Math and Science Initiative, which works year-round to improve the caliber of science, technology, engineering, math, and English courses at military-serving schools. Today, we are so proud to announce that the National Math and Science Initiative is dramatically increasing the number of military-connected schools served by its College Readiness Program. With new funding commitments made by the Department of Defense and a coalition of partners, NMSI’s College Readiness Program for Military Families will now cover 85% of a network of 200 military-connected schools in 35 states across the country. Nearly 17,000 more military-connected students will benefit from the program, bringing the total to nearly 50,000, ensuring that these students will be prepared for the rigors of college and career.
NMSI’s College Readiness Program broadens access to rigorous Advanced Placement coursework in math, science, and English. After just one year in this program, students in NMSI’s military-connected partner schools show an 82% increase in qualifying AP math and science exam scores, more than 10 times the national average! By giving students the opportunity to earn transferable credits, the program helps students save on the overall cost of college, enabling them to start the next stage in their life ahead of the game. NMSI’s College Readiness Program is ensuring that thousands of military-connected students and their teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Our goals are the same, to ensure our young people have every opportunity to be successful in college and beyond.
This work is especially important this month -- the month of the military child -- as we recognize the unique contributions and sacrifices made by the two million children of service members on active duty or in the National Guard and Reserves, and the almost four million children of post-9/11 veterans. This month, and every month moving forward, we must do more to support our service members and their families.
Dr. Jill Biden is a lifelong educator, a Blue Star mom, and Second Lady of the United States.