October 15, 2015 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members and Leaders Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 15, 2015
FEA has heard clearly from our members that the CCRS Math trainings so far have not provided them with the training they need to teach the new standards nor to address the needs of their students. We are also hearing that the materials and resources are not well organized or user friendly and are causing many hours of work to prepare materials and lessons.
FEA continues to report to DoDEA headquarters on the serious problems with this implementation and suggestions on how to make future trainings more relevant, practical and useful. We have asked that future trainings be designed to allow teachers to collaborate and work on the lessons (and that videos and other materials presented at such trainings match the grade levels those educators are teaching). Furthermore, we've urged management to give educators additional time to collaborate and plan together outside of the training, and to revamp all the materials and resources to make them clearer, more relevant and easier to navigate.
DoDEA must provide better professional development, appropriate, user friendly resources and the time and support that teachers need to make this implementation successful.
Compounding the problems with the CCRSM implementation have been the issues with technology that have impacted all our members as well as other September trainings. FEA will continue to forward your concerns to DoDEA on this issue. If we are to provide the best possible education for our students, we need proper training and adequate access to appropriate and dependable technology.
SPEAK UP SURVEY
Once again, a survey has been sent to the field with no notice to the Association. Thank you to the vigilant members in the field who bring these things to our attention. This time it is the Speak Up Survey. As we noted last year concerning this survey, participation is completely voluntary for teachers and students and there is no requirement for teachers to use instructional time for students to participate.
A GREAT RESOURCE
We know change is not easy and the transition to College and Career Ready Standards is no exception. As noted above, your concerns have been heard and we are advocating for better training and resources. In the meantime, The Master Teacher Project, a joint project between BetterLesson and the National Education Association, is "a revolutionary effort to highlight and share the best teaching practices around the Common Core." Check it out at Better Lessons.
OPEN SEASON COMING SOON
The open season for making changes to your federal benefits programs will run from November 9 through December 14. You can read more and link to additional resources by looking over OPM's release on open season, available at this link.
I had a great visit to Ft. Bragg recently. I was able to quickly visit to each of our schools there, as well as attend an afternoon membership meeting. In most of the buildings, the administrators took time to show us around the school and to point out many of the good things going on there. In many buildings a very positive, collaborative atmosphere was evident. Many thanks to the local leaders who helped to facilitate my trip and to the members who took time to speak with me.
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
Speaking of all the great work you do: American Education Week takes place November 16-20 and is a formal observance of the importance of public education as well as a recognition of all educators do. FEA has posted a sample article our local associations can customize and send to their local media, informing them of any plans your local has to celebrate the week. You can download that document by going to FEA's web site at feaonline.org and looking for the American Education Week item on our Home page. . Be aware, many local papers have early deadlines for submissions so don't wait till the last minute. Don't be shy; let your great work shine!
FEA and management did bargain and recently sign off on a trio of new Memoranda of Understanding. You can read the MOUs on the topics listed below by going to FEA's MOU Page (member login required):
- Implementation and Training for Learning Impaired Moderate Severe (LIMS) Special Education Curriculum Materials
- Grades 6-8 Digital Science Resources
- Fitness Gram Version 10.0
Since my last update, we've had two more schools report 100 percent Association membership. Both personally and on behalf of FEA I want to offer my thanks and congratulations to the members and local leadership at Edgren High School in Misawa and Brussels American School in Belgium for reaching the 100 percent mark. What an amazing accomplishment! Your support gives FEA the authority and the credibility to speak on behalf of the education professionals throughout DoDEA. Thank you so much for your support and for the great work you all do every day for military family members and especially the students!
BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH
October is bullying prevention month. Visit the NEA's "Bully Free: It Starts With Me" site for resources you can use to take a stand against bullying. Click here.
A reminder, as the political season heats up and especially as we head toward a presidential election year in 2016: The Hatch Act significantly restricts the political activities that federal employees can engage in and specifically prohibits any political activity while you are working on government time, on government property, and while using government equipment (including computers and e-mail). FEA highly recommends all members familiarize themselves with the Hatch Act restrictions by following the links below:
Please remember that my access to Outlook has been problematic so please do NOT send FEA emails to my DoDEA Outlook account. Please send all FEA related email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you.