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December 8 2009 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: December 8, 2009


UDDI/TerraNova SURVEY -- FEA is asking members not to participate in the recently announced survey on UDDI/Terra Nova issues. Once again, Dr. Miles has skewed the questions in the survey to produce a "self-affirming" assessment of a unilateral policy implemented by DoDEA. What questions from FEA did Dr. Miles exclude from this survey?
  1. FEA wanted the survey to ask DoDEA employees if TerraNova module training was related more to the adopted Standards or to teaching to the content of a standardized test. Dr. Miles excluded this question.
  2. FEA wanted the survey to ask educators to rate the effectiveness of any trainings you have received, instead of rating just the content and delivery. Dr. Miles refused to include this question as well.
  3. FEA wanted the survey to offer alternatives in professional development that would gauge the need to have more opportunities for training in specific curricula areas, like the in-service training done under Dr. Tafoya. Dr. Miles again refused to do so.

This is not the first time Dr. Miles has attempted to misuse survey results. Last year, on the Employee Satisfaction Survey, she excluded all of the OPM questions that asked educators for their opinions of DoDEA Headquarters management.

FEA has asked that this new survey on UDDI/TerraNova be withdrawn and we encourage all FEA members to not participate in this survey until a fair and unbiased survey can be collaboratively developed.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CUTS -- FEA has received a number of questions regarding Dr. Miles' proposal to increase class sizes in DoDEA middle schools. While Dr. Miles has told the press and members of Congress that she is waiting for a Task Group's recommendation, she told me personally on August 10, 2009, that she plans to cut positions in the middle school regardless of the task force's report. She has now excluded me from attending the Task Group meeting, telling me I could only attend if I signed a Confidentiality Agreement that would have precluded me from sharing any information from the task force with FEA members. Dr. Miles said she might modify this request, but only after the original gag order is signed. I cannot agree with these pre-conditions and am therefore barred from attending the middle school Task Group meeting. FEA will vigorously oppose any increase in class sizes for middle schools.

$1000 INCENTIVE (AND THE APPLE) -- DoDEA is again offering a monetary incentive, $1000, plus a crystal apple, for DoDDS educators who submit their intent to resign or retire by January 8.

VERA/ELWOP/ARR DEADLINES -- DoDDS educators have until January 8 to submit their applications for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA), Educational Leave Without Pay (ELWOP) and Administrative Reemployment Rights (ARR). Get more information by going to www.feaonline.org/vera_elwop.htm

LOCALITY PAY -- Owing to some incorrect information reported to us, FEA erroneously reported that our members in Guam would have an option whether to continue receiving COLAs or to switch to Locality Pay, as implemented in the 2010 DoD Authorization Act. In fact, there is no opt-out option, so all Guam educators will be subject to the new Locality Pay, which will be phased in over a three-year period. FEA apologizes for the mistake in our earlier reporting on this issue.
In order to help our Guam members understand the effect of this transition to Locality Pay, FEA has posted some information to help you estimate the impact upon your salary and eventual retirement benefit. That information can be found on the FEA Web site at
http://feaonline.org/passport/communication/updates/stateside/guamlocalitypay.htm

UK VISA PROBLEMS -- FEA continues to hear from educators in the United Kingdom who are having problems being reimbursed for the cost of their UK VISA. DoDEA Headquartesrs has assured us that they will streamline this process. If you have applied for a UK VISA and have not been reimbursed, let FEA know immediately. If you plan to apply for a UK VISA, also let us know, so we can work with Headquarters to reduce or eliminate the time you must wait for reimbursement.

SCHOOL VISITS -- I will be visiting DDESS schools immediately after the holiday break. I plan to be in Fort Rucker (January 11), Maxwell Air Base (January 12), Fort Benning (January 13/14), Fort Campbell (January 19) and Fort Knox (January 20). I am looking forward to these school visits and meeting with members. Your local presidents will be providing additional information next month.

OPEN SEASON NEARLY OVER -- The Federal Employees Health Benefit Open Season will draw to a close on Monday, December 14, 2009. Get information at OPM's Open Season Site.

FEA ELECTION DEADLINE -- Anyone interested in running for an at-large office on the FEA Board of Directors is reminded that nomination forms (either for yourself or for another FEA Active member you would like to nominate) must be mailed by December 18, 2009. Complete election information is included in the most recent FEA Journal newsletter sent to you. You can also get nomination forms and information by going to www.feaonline.org/election.htm

HAPPY HOLIDAYS -- Barring some breaking news, this will be my last FEA President's Report of 2009. It's hard to believe the school year is nearly half over already. I want to wish all FEA members a very happy holiday season and a restful and rejuvenating holiday break. See you in 2010!