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October 1 2009 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: October 1, 2009


ENCROACHMENT INTO EDUCATORS' TIME -- FEA recently posted a legal update for DoDDS educators, asking them to record management efforts to assign them training or other new duties during the following times:
  • the 20 minutes before the instructional day begins
  • Prep time period(s)
  • your existing duty-free lunch time
  • 30 minutes after the instructional day ends
  • any other training or assignment required by management outside of the normal duty day.
The full legal update, including a sheet you can print or download to help you keep track of such encroachments by management into your professional time, is available here. The information you are asked to keep track of will help us in several grievances we've recently filed dealing with the above encroachment issues.

Again, that legal update applies only to DoDDS, not DDESS. All DoDDS educators are urged to view that update and begin completing the data sheets each week.

EXCENT GRIEVANCE -- Another Association Grievance FEA has recently filed deals with payments for people who had to work extra hours to input data because of the ongoing problems with Excent. FEA filed this grievance because we believe such people should be paid their applicable daily or hourly rate. DoDEA maintains that such people should be paid via an extra-duty contract. DoDEA has stated that they have approved payments for everyone who was owned money due to the Excent problems and that pay should appear on one of your October Leave and Earnings Statements. If you are owed such a payment and do not receive it by November 1, let your FRS know right away.

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS ON YOUR BEHALF -- In addition to the Association Grievances listed above (on encroachments into educators' time and Excent), FEA has recently filed Association Grievances on these topics:
  • Failure to compensate for ASPEN
  • Implementation of the new English Language Arts program
  • Violations of the Gradespeed MOU
We have also given DoDDS a 15-day notice of our intent to file Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against management on these topics:
  • PSAT for AVID
  • FLES pre-testing
  • ETs being told not to offer classes for credit to educators
  • Lesson Plan template not being negotiated
As you can see and are no doubt already aware, there are a lot of issues to be resolved.

UK VISA REIMBURSEMENT -- FEA continues to advocate for timely reimbursement or direct payment by management for the cost of the Entry Visa required for educators working in the United Kingdom. Any DoDEA educators still waiting for reimbursement of this expense should notify FEA immediately.

ARE YOUR SCHOOL COMPUTERS BEING TRASHED? A number of IT in the field have been telling schools to dispose of computers that exceed a 2:1 ratio (2 student for each computer). This issue has been raised directly to Dr. Miles. She has stated that she has not issued any decision at this time. Please let your FRS and FEA-Washington know immediately if your school has been directed to dispose of computers.

NO CHANGES FOR SPEECH AND LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS THIS YEAR -- FEA sent a message to DoDEA Headquarters asking if any changes have been made this year to the programs or delivery of service for Speech and Language Pathologists. The short answer is "no changes for this school year." DoDEA has proposed a new delivery model for next year. Called the 3:1 model, it combines three weeks of direct services with one week of inclusion. FEA wants feedback on this model from our SLP members, as we will invoke bargaining on implementation.

FIRST AID TRAINING -- FEA has received reports of administrators trying to mandate that First Aid Training should be held on Saturdays or other times outside the normal duty day. This is a clear violation of our December 2001 Memorandum of Understanding with management on this issue (FEA member login required to access). Any attempts to violate this MOU by requiring training outside of the duty day should immediately be reported to your FRS, so she or he can inform FEA Washington.

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANKS -- We've learned of four more schools that have achieved 100 percent FEA membership so far this school year. I want to offer my congratulations to the members and local association leaders, especially the building representatives, at those schools:
  • McCool Elementary/Middle School in Guam
  • Spangdahlem Middle School in Germany
  • Kaiserslautern Middle School in Germany
  • Kleine Brogel Elementary School in Germany
Such commitment and support of FEA and its mission of protecting quality education is inspiring and humbling. On behalf of FEA, thank you for your support and you have my word that FEA will continue to fight for the best interests of our members and their students.

If your school achieves 100 percent membership, please send a message to us at fea@feaonline.org to let us know so that we can recognize your building's achievement as well.

THE TRUTH ABOUT DODEA SCHOOLS -- Sadly, there has been much tension and anxiety within our schools recently and too little emphasis on the overwhelmingly positive stories that emerge from our members' work with students everyday. I want to remedy that by mentioning some very positive things said recently about DoDEA teachers -- the fact that they were said by students makes them all the more touching.
First, in the September 20th Stars & Stripes: the "Feedback" section asked readers, "Who is your role model?" Two of the six respondents quoted, one from Zama High School and one from Ansbach High School, cited their teachers. What a fantastic honor!

Second, an elementary teacher who reconnected with a former student through Facebook shared with me this comment from the student: "…you changed my life in ways you could never imagine. I remember being on the wrong path in life as a young boy, as I'm sure you do too, but you helped change my conduct. You also showed me how to value and appreciate education. You gave me many tools that have made me into the scholar that I am today. Not only that, you made me an overall better person. And I don't think I could ever thank you enough, but I would like to at least take this time to say "THANK YOU" for all that you have done and molding me in that short-period of time. And if nobody has ever told you, YOU ARE A PHENOMENAL TEACHER! p.s. I am a freshman in college now!"

I'm sure just about every educator in DoDEA has similar stories to tell. If you get a chance, please share them with FEA by sending them to us at fea@feaonline.org. It's important that we all remember the many rewarding and inspiring reasons why we work in education, despite attempts by some to berate our work.

VISITS -- So far this week, I've been to Zama and Yokosuka to visit with FEA members. Next, I'll be going to Yokota, Iwakuni, and Osan Middle School, as well as attending FRS training in Korea. As always, I look forward to sharing information with our members and hearing your concerns.

HEALTH INFORMATION -- Representatives of the American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) will be giving briefings on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Open Season at the following locations in Europe this month:
Oct. 13 -- Stuttgart, Garmisch, Lakenheath
Oct. 14 -- Wiesbaden, Hohenfels
Oct. 15 -- Schweinfurt, Nezaberg, Alconberry
Oct. 16 -- Mannheim, Bamberg
Oct. 19 -- Brussels, Heidelberg
Oct. 20 -- SHAPE, Ramstein
Oct. 21 -- Kaiserslautern

Additional AFSPA Presentations are scheduled for the Pacific in November. I'll include those dates in my next update.

SCAM ALERT -- Our parent organization, the NEA, passed along the following warning about an Internet scam that targets NEA members. Please read it and take all necessary precautions.
"BOGUS ORGANIZATION TRYING TO SCAM ASSOCIATION MEMBERS!!!

"There is a bogus organization conducting a phishing scam of educators - many of them our members - that you and your members should know about.

"They call themselves the National Teachers Education Association and are using NEA's address as their contact information. The message identifies itself as coming from the Executive Secretary - Susan Landen.

"The message tells recipients that they have been nominated for induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame - and directs them through a series of internet prompts to find out more - and asking the recipient for more information.

"There is a National Teachers Hall of Fame. It's in Kansas, and NEA has been a long-time supporter. But this is NOT a Hall of Fame initiative.

"NEA's ITS Department has reported the information to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). (The APWG is the global pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating the fraud and identity theft that result from phishing, pharming and email spoofing of all types.)

"ITS suggests that members who receive a similar e-mail:
"NEA ITS also suggests that everyone visit On Guard Online to get more information on Phishing Scams and to find out how you can protect yourself."

Let me take this opportunity to thank you all for the outstanding work you do everyday, and to wish you a great week!