October 1 2015 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 1, 2015
As I write this update midday on September 30, it appears that the threat of a government shutdown has been averted, for now at least. Of course, anything can happen before midnight. Unfortunately, it appears likely this whole issue will rear its head again in December. I guess we should be thankful for small things!
The Stars and Stripes recently highlighted the ongoing problems some new and recently transferred DODDS employees in the Pacific are having with pay and receiving their CAC ID cards. We also know of several individuals in Europe and Stateside facing the same problems. FEA has been working on these issues at all levels, from the local school offices to DoDEA Headquarters in Virginia, and we will make sure that all of our members affected by these problems are paid properly and receive all that is owed to them. It is astounding that the simple act of paying employees in a timely and accurate manner continues to be such a problem for DoDEA, yet no one ever seems to be accountable for it.
Even more widespread this year has been the numerous problems with computers and other technology throughout DoDEA. Teachers are frustrated that we want to use technology, and we are expected to use it and yet when we try, it does not work. Teachers are also frustrated that they spend time leaning new programs and inputting information only to have the programs withdrawn or discontinued. Blocked websites, online books with no computers to access them, laptops not seeing the network, teachers can't access student home directories, no ability to unlock student accounts, the list goes on. I can't begin to count the number of stories I've heard so far this year about technology problems negatively impacting instruction. The most upsetting aspect of this, of course, is the lost instructional time that students will never get back.
I recently returned from my "around-the-world" trip after visiting Germany, Korea, Okinawa, and Japan. I finished the trip by attending the Stateside Area Council in Nashville. As always, it was great to be able to speak with members and hear the concerns from those "in the trenches." Many thanks to all those who helped to facilitate my visits and especially to those members who took the time to speak with me at this busy time of year. This coming week, I will head to Fort Bragg to meet with members there.
NEA Healthy Futures is a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA). Originally founded in 1987 as the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN), they provide health and wellness solutions, advocacy tools, and funding and resource opportunities for NEA members and the education community at large. For a variety of resources for educators and families, including some in Spanish, go to this page.
The deadline for receipt (not postmark, but actual receipt) of nomination forms for any of the four at-large offices on the FEA Board of Directors to be voted on this year is October 9, 2015. You can find complete election information on the FEA Web site at www.feaonline.org. Information was also sent to the FRS in each building and was printed in the August FEA Journal. Please consider nominating yourself or another Active member of FEA for office and be sure to submit your nomination in time to meet the October 9 deadline.
DoDEA SCHOOLS HONORED
Once again, several of our many outstanding schools have been singled out for recognition. Bowley ES at FT. Bragg, Osan MS in Korea, and Wiesbaden MS in Germany have been named Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Congratulations to each of these schools.
Congratulations and a very sincere "thank you" to the members and leaders at Andersen Elementary and Andersen Middle schools in Guam, both of which have attained 100 percent FEA membership this school year! Such support is not something FEA will take lightly and we are extremely grateful to all of our members at these schools for standing together and standing with FEA! Thanks so much!!
I'd love to recognize other schools throughout DoDEA that achieve similar 100 percent membership. If your school has done so, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know! And, of course, thank you to ALL of our members worldwide for their continuing support and solidarity. YOU are FEA and we are so grateful for what you do everyday!