October 12 2009 FEA Europe Update

1. Area Director's Travel
2. FEA Website
3. October Unity
4. Leave and Earnings Statement
5. Important News for FERS Employees
6. What's Wrong with this Picture?
7. Area Advisory Council
8. Mark Your Calendars
9. Teacher of the Year
10. Next Update

1. Area Director's Travel - This Update will be going out early this week, since I leave Tuesday for travel to Cuba and then on to the Board of Directors' meeting in DC. Please excuse any delay in responses to your emails. I will be back in the office on Oct 26.

Last week I visited AFNORTH ES/HS, Geilenkirchen ES, and Kleine Brogel ES. It is always great to see the wonderful work our members do every day in our schools. Thanks to all the members who made my visits pleasant and productive.

2. FEA Website - Things have been happening very quickly in DoDEA these days...the FEA website ( is a great source for up to date information. You can also sign up to have the President's Report sent directly to your email, so you can keep up on the latest news.

3. October Unity - FRS's: Please watch your mail in the coming weeks for the October edition of the FEA Europe Unity. The Unity is currently being printed and should be sent out this week. Please distribute it to your members as soon as you can when it arrives.

4. Leave and Earnings Statement - Attached is a sheet with an explanation of the LES Form, Blocks 1-22. It is rather lengthy so you may not want to print it out, but this could help with questions about your LES. Some recent additions to your LES's, like the note about about Post Allowance in your location with your family size have been added since this explanation was created. FEA continues to press for clearer information/explanations on our LES's.

5. Important News for FERS Employees - House Conferees Approve a Range of Improvements for Feds.

Federal employees would see a range of improvements to retirement and work rules under measures included in the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 2647), released Oct. 7. The final agreement--sent to the House and Senate for final approval--would allow federal agencies to re-employ federal retirees on a limited, part-time basis without penalty; permit Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) workers to credit their unused sick leave toward retirement; and extend locality pay to federal employees working in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories. On re-employment, federal employees who return to civil service after retirement now are penalized in the form of a pay reduction to offset their federal retirement annuity. The new law would change that. Reemployed annuitants would be able to work a total of 3,120 hours before any offset to annuity occurs. The sick-leave language included in the conference report allows FERS employees who retire before Jan. 1, 2014, to credit 50 percent of their unused sick leave toward their annuity. After a four-year phase-in period, FERS employees will receive full credit for unused sick leave upon retirement. The legislation also would phase out cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for workers in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories because COLAs do not count as basic pay for retirement purposes. For these areas, the legislation would phase in locality pay over a period of three years, combined with an annuity buy-in.

To see more, go to:
%20Press%20Release.pdf, or

6. What's Wrong with this Picture? I recently heard an administrator talk about a "standardized approach to differentiated instruction"ůstandardized differentiation? Isn't that an oxymoron? We recognize that each child is different, but then we treat all adults and all schools the same by giving a "top-down, one-size fits all" professional development. We seem to forget everything we know about teaching and learning when we deal with adults. And why is there no evaluation with the current training modules? Isn't evaluation an important component of any training?

7. Area Advisory Council - On Oct 8th, John and I attended the Fall meeting of the Area Advisory Council. This group is made up of representatives from many organizations, including ones from DoDEA, the military, parents, students, as well as representatives from the unions. This meeting provides a good forum for an exchange of information among the various members.

8. Mark Your Calendars -

November 9 -- Health Insurance Open Season Begins

November 15-21 -- American Education Week (Wednesday, Nov 18 is National Educational Support Professional Day)

November 16-21 - FEA will be sponsoring trainings (in various locations) with Jerry Newberry, Executive Director of the NEA Health Information future Updates for further details and information.

Dec 4-6 - "Quality in Education" workshop with Tamara Hamilton, of the NEA. Please contact Terese Sarno or Linda Callender for information.

9. Teacher of the Year - Congratulations to Susan S. Morris who was recently named as the 2010 DoDEA Teacher of the Year. Susan teaches Social Studies and AVID, Grades 7 and 8, at Boeblingen Elementary/Middle School in the Heidelberg District.

10. Next Update - John and I will be attending the FEA Board of Directors Fall Meeting the week of Oct 19-23, so there will be no Update next week. Our next Update will go out on Wednesday, October 28th.

Thanks for all you do,


Chuck McCarter
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel/Fax: 0611-44756234 or
0611-44756131 or DSN 337-6251