Operation Educate the Educators – Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

Posted September 26, 2013

Peoria, IL (September 24, 2013)— Aspiring teachers at Bradley University will soon be able to add to their educational arsenals thanks to the university’s participation in Operation Educate the Educators.

As part of the program “Operation Educate the Educators,” Col. Robbie Robertson from the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard will speak with students from the Department of Teacher Education of the College of Education and Health Sciences on September 26 from 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Launched in 2011 by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, the national program aims to make education students and classroom teachers aware of the unique stresses and problems faced by military-connected students from preschool through high school. These issues include parental deployments overseas, frequent school changes, and families adjusting to civilian life after military service.

Bradley was one of the first schools to join the program, which now includes more than 100 colleges and universities.

“The program is really about heightening awareness and understanding,” said Dr. Dean Cantu, chairman of Bradley’s Department of Teacher Education and a former U.S. Army intelligence officer. “We’re looking at it preparing our teachers as well as helping students at the university level who have served or are members of military families.”

Bradley’s Department of Teacher Education has integrated the program’s principles into its required course on educational diversity. “It’s part of how we define diversity. It’s like a mosaic or a quilt. This is just one of many pieces,” Cantu explained. “We owe it to students from military families that their teachers have this understanding to effectively teach them.”

The program is a partnership between the Military Child Education Coalition and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. More than 2 million U.S. children have a military connection, and 80 percent of them attend public school.