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February 1, 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: February 1, 2014

VERA/VSIP
FEA has received the information below from DoDEA regarding Phase II of the VERA/VSIP program. Unlike Phase I, Phase II is open to both excessed educators AND non-excessed educators. Non-excessed educators may be offered VERA/VSIP if their position can be used to place an excessed educator (based upon the location and category preferences of the excessed educator). Any educator who is offered VERA/VSIP will have two days to decide whether or not to accept the offer.

Here is the information provided by DoDEA:

"DoDEA is in the process of making final adjustment to an online VERA/VSIP Registry which is a component of the Excess Placement Program online database. This new system will allow employees to register for VERA/VSIP using the Excess Placement Program Module. We expect this application to open within the next two weeks. In the meantime, if you are interested in applying for VERA/VSIP when the application window opens, we highly recommend that you proceed with requesting your retirement estimate as early as possible. To request an annuity estimate, you must request it on the DLA website at this link. If you requested and received an estimate within the last two years, DLA will provide you with a copy of that estimate and a new estimate will not be provided.

"Please note, applying for an estimate through DLA is only an estimate to help you determine if you are truly interested in applying for VERA/VSIP. In order to receive consideration for VERA/VSIP, all interested candidates must submit an online application to the VERA/VSIP Registry in the Excess Placement Program Module during the open application period. Additional guidance and information will be provided when the application window is opened."

SCOTT/ALEXANDER BILL
FEA is currently working with NEA Government Relations to defeat a bill introduced in the Senate by Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Scott (R-SC), seeking in part to create a pilot school choice program for students living on military bases. Such a program would further threaten the stability and quality of DDESS schools, which are already facing the threat of the RAND Corporation study into the future of these Stateside DoD schools. So-called "school choice" programs are little more than an effort to promote private schools using taxpayer money. There is no need and no place for such schemes so long as DDESS schools and their excellent academic records are available to serve students and families.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February is Black History Month. You can find materials and classroom resources to help you mark this event by going to NEA's Black History Month resource page.

SCHOOL COUNSELING WEEK
February 3-7 is designated as National School Counseling Week, a time to honor the contributions school counselors make to our schools. You can find information and materials by going to this page.

READ ACROSS AMERICA
The annual reading celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss is barely a month away. Read Across America takes place this year on March 3. Go to feaonline.org to link to the sample press release your local association can send to the media, telling them about the events you've arranged to mark the day. If you're still looking for reading event ideas or other materials to help you celebrate, try this page.

FEA ELECTIONS
You can view the names of the candidates for FEA Area Director positions by going to feaonline.org. Candidate information will also be the primary focus of the upcoming FEA Journal newsletter, which will be mailed to members in mid February. Ballots and other information will be mailed directly to each FEA Active member on February 28. Ballots must be received by FEA by April 22, 2014, in order to be counted.

TRAVEL PLANS
Thanks very much to the members and local leaders at Fort Jackson and Quantico for hosting and meeting with me during my recent visits to those complexes. The work being conducted by the DDESS staffs at both locations was truly inspirational.

February will be equally inspirational, as I make my first visit as FEA President to the Pacific when I visit Okinawa February 6-11 for school visits, local meetings and the PAL Council. Later in the month, I'll be making some additional DDESS visits on my way to attending the Stateside Area Council meeting in Peachtree City February 27-March 1. As always, I look forward to meeting with and learning from our members everywhere I go.

MID YEAR
At this time of year, a little more than half way through the school year, in what has been a harsh winter for many of our schools, we may all need to remind ourselves of the good work that we are doing. DoDEA schools continue to excel in our graduation rates, our standardized test scores, our small achievement gap, as well as many other measures. Though we may not often hear it, the work we do makes a difference in the lives of our students. And it happens in the schools, not some office somewhere. Keep up the great work!