November 1 2018 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: November 1, 2018


Once again, DoDEA is trying to solicit data to support conclusions it has already reached. In this case, DoDEA has ignored the Association's request to work on a valid survey about the Transfer Program and instead has hired an outside contractor to develop a survey without meaningful input from the Association. As previously posted, FEA is not recommending that any members participate in DoDEA's flawed survey.

Instead, FEA has issued its own survey, a link to which has been sent via email to members. You can access the FEA Transfer Program Survey here.

(if you did not receive the e-mail from FEA with the survey link, please check your Spam folder. If our message is not there, please e-mail our Director of Communications at this email address to let us know. It may be that we have an outdated email address for you or we do not have a private, non-DoDEA email address on file for you.)

Please complete the survey as quickly as possible. We will close the survey to responses next Wednesday, November 7 -- the same date the DoDEA survey closes. This will give us a chance to tabulate and present the data we gather -- reflecting the true opinions of school-level employees -- to DoDEA.


As mentioned above, despite our willingness and repeated offers to do so, DoDEA management refused to work with FEA on its transfer program survey and ignored all but the most superficial suggests we offered them in crafting it. This is just the latest example of DoDEA's unwillingness to engage or work with the Association on any issue.

DoDEA's survey, we believe, is designed to be vaguely written and allow management to use whatever results it obtains to justify decisions it has already made about the future design of the transfer program.

For example, question #11 of the DoDEA survey asks if respondents agree that the transfer program should have principals "involved in the process at a minimum." It then goes on to give as an example of such "minimum" involvement , the HUGE change of having principals interview teachers who apply for transfers. If you say you agree principals should have "minimal" involvement, DoDEA would say you're supporting principals interviewing teachers; if you say you disagree, DoDEA is likely to say respondents felt principals should have MORE THAN minimal involvement.

Other examples of misleading questions are numbers 21 and 34. In #21, respondents are asked if they agree the transfer program should have an "Applicant Review Committee" made up of administrators and union representatives. While FEA is always willing and anxious to work jointly with management for the betterment of members and students, management has NEVER approached FEA about such a committee. FEA has no idea what this committee would do, what sort of input we'd have into its processes, etc. Yet the question sounds as if this committee is something the union is fully involved in creating. It is misleading, at best!

Question #34 asks a similarly misleading question about using "principal, superintendent and union surveys as tools to define measurements for successful outcomes." Again, no one from management has ever raised this topic with us. We could not tell you what such surveys would look like, how much true input/control FEA would have over the "union" survey, etc. Such surveys could be very useful, if conducted in the right way. The way DoDEA has handled this transfer program survey, however, gives us serious doubts about the validity of any future surveys.

For those and other reasons, we cannot recommend anyone participate in management's survey. It was not developed in an open and honest manner and we have no faith in whatever conclusions DoDEA will use it to justify. Some fear not responding will lead management to conclude there is no interest in the transfer program. That is why FEA is developing its own survey: to show management the true opinions and level of concern its employees have.

FEA urges our members to complete the FEA survey by going to our Transfer Survey site and we will share those survey results with management. Our survey is based upon years of feedback and we believe it seeks input on the true concerns of building-level employees much better than does the DoDEA survey.


As you're probably aware by now, FEA's Stateside Region (FEA-SR) and DoDEA met last week with a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP). The meeting came after DoDEA asked the FSIP to assert jurisdiction over negotiation of a new Master Labor Agreement for Stateside educators. You can learn about the issues agreed to at that meeting and those that remain to be decided by the full FSIP by going to this story on the FEA Web site.


During the week of November 5-9, the FEA Board of Directors will meet at the NEA Building in Washington DC. This is a chance for your elected officials to meet together to discuss concerns and issues across our school system. This is also a great chance to meet with NEA staff and governance to discuss how they can best support FEA and our members. Please be patient while your representatives are here in DC as they may not be able to respond quickly to your emails or calls.


Speaking of the Board of Directors, congratulations and thank you to all the candidates nominated for election to at-large seats on the FEA Board. You can find the list of candidates by going to the FEA Election Information Page. Ballots will be mailed to all members on January 17, 2019, and are due back by March 26, 2019.


Veteran's Day is the time to honor and thank those who are serving or have served in the military. Originally called Armistice Day in commemoration of the signing of the agreement that ended WWI November 11, 1918. In 1954 the federal holiday was changed to Veterans' Day. As DoDEA educators, whether we have worked with the military, are military family members or are veterans ourselves, we know the sacrifices military members and their families make for our country. Veterans' Day is a perfect opportunity to say "thank you!"


DoDEA, unfortunately, is moving ahead with its plan to end the FLES program for our elementary schools. This is another example of a decision that has been made without sufficient input from educators, parents, and students. Impacted educators should work with your local Association representatives concerning placement options, certification questions, etc. At the school level, building reps should also initiate discussions of how this will impact scheduling for your schools.


It is always great to see our DoDEA schools recognized. Spangdahlem MS was named as one of the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for 2018. The Green Ribbon Awards recognize schools that reduce their environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff and provide effective environmental and sustainability education. Congratulations to Spangdahlem MS!


Does your school have a HCR Contact? We want to make sure every school has a contact person to help distribute information about the HCR program and to help promote minority involvement in the Association. If you are not aware of your school level HCR contact, ask your FRS or Building Rep about it.


I have seen wonderful pictures of members from around the world wearing "Red for Respect." Let's keep it up.


Don't forget, American Education Week is coming up -- November 12-16. During American Education Week, and every day of the year, FEA salutes our DoDEA faculty and staff. Thank you for ALL you do for students!