January 19, 2018, FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: January 19, 2018
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Yet again, we find ourselves wondering whether the federal government is about to face a shutdown over budget issues. FEA and NEA have been working to educate decision makers at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill of the need to keep DoDEA schools open and school-level employees on the job if a shutdown should occur. It is our hope that this latest threat will be averted. If not, we will let members know whenever we receive definite word about keeping DoDEA employees on the job.
FEA has filed litigation over a pair of issues negatively impacting DoDEA students and our members' work environments.
Back in December, FEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice over management's decision to eliminate one parent-teacher conference day in overseas schools beginning this year. Doing so is unnecessary and certainly not helpful in promoting parental involvement and awareness of what's going on with their children's education.
Last week, FEA filed an Association Grievance over management's unilateral decision to eliminate substitute teacher coverage during administration of the BAS reading assessments. The decision to cut subs was made in clear violation of an MOU between FEA and DoDEA management. The kindergarten assessments underway this month will be the first ones conducted without the benefit of subs in the classroom to help cover for teachers as they spend a week or more conducting the individual assessments required by the BAS. This move by DoDEA will cost students learning time and produce reading assessments of questionable value.
FEA Stateside Region will also litigate this issue.
DODDS TRANSFER ROUND
The transfer round is still ongoing and is expected to last until the middle or end of next week. Members who send questions to Connie Shanaghan about their transfer applications are reminded to include their transfer group and Service Computation Date (SCD) in the message. And please remember that, per FEA's standard agreement with DoDEA, we cannot release any details about individual transfers until the transfer round has been concluded and DoDEA management has sent out all transfer notifications. I spent some time this week at DoDEA Headquarters, monitoring the transfer round with FEA Pacific Area Director Melanie Horton and FEA Director of Administration Connie Shanaghan. I want to thank both Melanie and Connie for their hard work, making sure that our members receive every possible consideration in the transfer process. Thanks, also, to the hard working DoDEA staffers who are putting in long hours to arrange as many transfers as possible.
READ ACROSS AMERICA
March 2 is rapidly approaching. Make your plans for the best Read Across America day ever by going to NEA's RAA resource page (look for the "Plan a Reading Event" link in the left-hand margin).
Last week, I had an excellent visit with our members in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. FEA has already begun working in some of the concerns which members shared while I was there. Many thanks go to those who made my visit there so pleasant and productive.
Next month I am planning to visit schools at Ft. Jackson and Laurel Bay. I look forward to meeting with members at those locations and hearing what's on their minds.
We have received several questions from members about a notice from DoDEA, requiring employees to update their contact information in FEPAAS, the Personnel Accountability and Assessment System. For those who may not remember, FEPASS maintains a database of information on all DoD civilian employees so that their respective agencies can contact them in the event of an emergency. The system was implemented after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that forced evacuations in parts of Japan and has since been used to help maintain contact with employees in the wake of severe storms in Cuba and South Carolina, among other locations. FEA has requested bargaining on the issue in the past but management has refused to do so, citing its obligation to maintain security and safety as a rationale for imposing the FEPAAS system after being directed to do so by the Pentagon. The requirement from DoDEA for employees to submit their information to the FEPAAS system is not a new one; it has been in place for several years. This most recent requirement is meant to ensure the system has your most current and accurate information, should it become necessary to contact you during an emergency in the future.
Finally, I would like to add to what FEA Director for DDESS Jane Loggins wrote in her most recent FEA Stateside newsletter and welcome to the FEA family our newest bargaining unit members: the Education Support Professionals at DoDEA's Guam schools! The Guam ESPs held a vote in November and December and not a single employee voted against the move to organize themselves as a part of FEA-Stateside Region. Welcome to FEA! We look forward to working with you and for you in the years ahead. Thanks so much for the trust and confidence you have bestowed in us!