Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
The U.S. Department of Defense is establishing a children’s education program at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola.
It’s a decision favored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who had advocated for a Science Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation Space Exploration (STARBASE) Program at the Pensacola base.
“This decision by the Defense Department is incredible news for military families at NAS Pensacola,” Rubio said in a written statement.
The STARBASE program will provide fifth graders at NAS Pensacola with academic opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NAS Pensacola aims to enroll approximately 1,500 students annually.
In an op-ed Rubio co-wrote with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Rubio said military families at NAS Pensacola “lack that opportunity” and that service members are frequently forced to leave their families behind when moving to the base or commute long distances so their children can have better educational options.
“Our service members deserve to have access to high-quality educational opportunities for their children, and STARBASE will help make that a reality for these families. I remain committed to ensuring students in Escambia County, and throughout the State of Florida, have access to the educational opportunities they need to flourish,” Rubio said in his written statement.
It’s the second move this month in the state of Florida to ensure a better educational experience for the state’s military families.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, in early June, signed a bill that will recognize schools as Purple Star Campuses if they designate a military liaison, create a webpage with resources for military families and start a student-led transition program for military students.
The National Naval Aviation Academy, Escambia County School District, the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, and the West Florida Defense Alliance have all endorsed launching a STARBASE Program at NAS Pensacola.
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