November 2, 2015 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: November 2, 2015


FEA and DoDEA have begun the process of negotiating the DODDS transfer program agreement that will govern the program to be run later this school year. As always, FEA will work to get the best possible transfer program and to impress upon management the value and importance the transfer program plays in boosting employee morale, employee retention, and promoting educational synergy.


Unfortunately, I continue to hear from teachers about ongoing problems with the rollout of the CCRS for Math. In spite of a recent positive message from DoDEA headquarters, the training has NOT met the needs of teachers in the classroom. Further, teachers are still spending far too much time trying to piece together lessons from the incomplete and poorly organized materials they have been provided. Teachers are being told just to "Google" the topic if they need activities or additional resources. Books that are referenced are no longer available. This is not acceptable and improvements must be made in further trainings and resources.


The White House and Congressional leaders last week reached a budget deal that will end the threat of sequestration cuts and government furloughs for the next two years. This is good news for all government workers and especially for our members and their students, who will not have to worry (for awhile anyway) about threats to disrupt education. Good news!!


The open season for making changes to your federal benefits programs will run from November 9 through December 14. The upcoming Open Season will also give employees and retirees the chance to select supplemental dental and/or vision coverage. In addition, Federal employees can elect to participate in a tax-deferred Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for health care and/or dependent care. You can read more and link to additional resources by looking over OPM's release on open season, available here.


American Education Week is coming up, November 16-20. I hope all FEA locals are planning to celebrate this important reminder of the importance of education and the people who make it possible: the school-level educators who work with students everyday. In addition, November 18 is designated as Education Support Professional Day; an opportunity to highlight a group of education professionals whose contributions are too often overlooked. You can find information and materials you can use to celebrate AEW and ESP day by going to this site.


Recently released scores for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed the history of outstanding performance by DoDEA students on these tests continues. The assessments showed solid gains in 4th grade reading and mathematics as well as 8th grade math. Only in the area of 8th grade reading did DoDEA's scores remain static, although that was in contrast to a significant drop in 8th grade reading scores nationwide. Congratulations to our students and educators for these outstanding results! This is another example of the great work being done everyday by our teachers and students, and it did not happen in an office somewhere. It happened in our schools!


Last week, I had the privilege of attending NEA's Minority and Women's Leadership Conferences with 10 FEA members from around the world. The training was excellent and as always, our FEA members represented us well. We are very fortunate to be able to take part in these trainings provided by the NEA and hope to offer more such opportunities in the future.


In accordance with FEA election procedures, the list of candidates for FEA at-large offices has been posted to the FEA Web site at Information on the candidates will be sent out in the December FEA Journal and ballots, along with candidates' info, will be mailed to all members in January. You can see the list of candidates here.


DoDEA has recently sent out information about the Speak Up Survey. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is participating for the second year in a row as a system in this annual nationwide survey administered by Project Tomorrow. The NEA is a sponsor of the Speak Up Survey. The survey is open between now and December 18, 2015. Data from the survey will allow DoDEA to hopefully make better technology decisions in many areas; from professional development opportunities to purchasing choices. This is your opportunity to Speak Up! While participation is encouraged, it is voluntary and using instructional time to give this survey is not required. Also, the survey does not capture data identifiable to any individual; it is completely anonymous. You can access the survey here.


On November 11, we honor the wartime service and sacrifice of men and women in the armed forces. Originally proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include American veterans of all wars. Our members know better than most the bravery and sacrifice of military personnel and their families. We honor our nation's veterans everyday, but especially on November 11. Let us never forget all these brave men and women have done for us, and continue to do for us. Thank you all! For classroom lessons about this important remembrance, go to this page.