While Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas scoffed at commanding officer at NAS Pensacola for telling local business leaders that service people are hesitant to move to Escambia County because of its weak public education system, Capt. Tim Kinsella was following the lead of the Secretary of Navy and other military service secretaries.
“…the factors military families cite most frequently as drawbacks to military service include military dependent’s difficulty assimilating into local school systems following a duty station transfer, the quality of schools available for their children…”–letter signed by Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer
Last Thursday at the Pensacola Chamber’s State of the Military luncheon, Capt. Kinsella said, “There are military families that do not want to be stationed here because of education. The families that have school-aged children, the first thing that they look at when they see that they have orders to Pensacola, ‘What are the schools like?’So then they say, ‘I don’t want to go there.’”
On Monday, Thomas attacked Kinsella, “The part about you have to make a choice to serve your country or have your child receive a good education I find very disparaging and disappointing coming from someone in his position.”
On February 23, 2018, the Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson sent to the National Governors Association a letter outlining ways state leadership could better support service members.
The letter stressed the importance of the quality of schools near bases to military families.
“While focus on the mission is always our priority, the factors military families cite most frequently as drawbacks to military service include military dependent’s difficulty assimilating into local school systems following a duty station transfer, the quality of schools available for their children, and the ability of spouses to obtain jobs and sustain careers,” wrote the three military service secretaries.
Editor’s note: Thomas needs to quit attacking military leadership. Military families aren’t wrong for wanting better public schools and basing their preferences for assignments on the quality of schools near the base.