November 15, 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members and Leaders Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: November 15, 2014

I want to congratulate all FEA members on the occasion of American Education Week, taking place November 17-21, and Educational Support Professional (ESP) Day on November 19. One of the "perks" of my job is the chance to see so many great teachers and ESP's at work as I visit schools. The work you do is so very valuable and important that it should be honored every day of the year. Thank you for the outstanding work you do!

If you are looking for last minute ideas to celebrate in your school, go to: NEA's American Education Week site.

Next week our FEA Board of Directors will be in Washington DC to meet and discuss important issues. Although the BOD is in frequent contact by email and phone, it is important that we take the time to come together as a group to discuss concerns face to face. This will also give our BOD members a chance to speak directly to NEA leadership as well. Please excuse any delay in response from your leadership during this busy week.

Since the last Report, I have visited our schools at West Point, NY, with Jane Loggins, FEA Director for DDESS. We had a great visit; many thanks to those who made our visit so productive. In addition, this weekend HT Nguyen and I are attending the Fall Meeting of the National Council of State Education Associations along with other State Presidents and Executive Directors. I appreciate the chance to speak with other presidents about issues their states are facing. While we have not faced some of the devastating budget cuts and other issues faced by many states, we still have many of the same educational and organizational concerns, so speaking with other states is important.

At this time, we have no new information about Transfers or VSIP/VERA. We are hopeful that this information will be available soon and will let our members know as soon as any details of these programs are confirmed.

One of the concerns I have heard a lot as President is that there still seems to be a constant flow of new demands and requirements on our time. Someone, somewhere always seems to be coming up with something new for us to do. If your administration is telling you something new is "required," ask your FRS or Building Rep to request to see the directive or regulation in writing. Too often these things are not requirements at all. Of course, the Association does have the right to bargain the impact and implementation of new requirements.

FEA has expressed concern about the numerous surveys that seem to be going out to our schools. This time it is the "Speak Up Survey." Please note that participation in this survey is completely voluntary for teachers and students and there is no requirement for teachers to use instructional time for students to participate.

The latest edition of the FEA Journal should arrive in your mail soon. In addition to the information contained in it, the Journal also has your membership number on it. If you have not already done so, use that number to sign up to have these updates sent directly to you. Go to this page.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I wish you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Though our thoughts are often occupied with the challenges we face, as DoDEA employees we also have much to be thankful for. Whether you stay at home or travel, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.