February 1 2018 FEA President's Report

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


The DODDS transfer round concluded on January 31. Reassignment letters have already started to be sent out. It will take several days for all notices to be sent out and FEA will inform our members when that process is complete. Notifications are sent only to employees who received a transfer. Keep in mind that teachers in the same school who receive a transfer may not all receive their notifications on the same day. If you do receive a transfer notice, you will have three WORK days to respond to management.

Please remember that FEA's agreement with DoDEA prevents us from giving out information on any individual transfers until ALL transfer notices have been sent by management. Members are also reminded to include their transfer group and SCD in the body of any message about the transfer round they send to FEA's Connie Shanaghan at this email.

In all, 132 transfers were arranged this year. This is the same number as last year's program. While FEA continues to believe strongly that far more transfers are needed, we are grateful to DoDEA Director Tom Brady for sticking to his promise that budgetary concerns would not result in fewer transfers being made this year than last year. We did exceed DoDEA's original budget for the transfer program but Mr. Brady approved additional funding to bring us up to 132 transfers again this year.

Transfers were made for applicants in all transfer groups, A+ through F. Every applicant in Groups A+ through D was given consideration and many in Group F received consideration this year as well, which is an improvement from past years. As always, vacancies went to the next transfer group only if no applicant in the higher group matched the vacancies. This means that those employees who received transfers in Group A were matched only to vacancies that could not be matched to Group A+ applicants, those in Group B were matched only to vacancies that could not be used for A+ or A applicants, and so on.

I want to thank FEA Pacific Director Melanie Horton for helping with the transfer round until last month's government shutdown forced her to return to Okinawa. DoDEA's Patti Ross deserves our thanks as well for overseeing the transfer round. And an especially big thank you to FEA's own transfer guru, Connie Shanaghan, for her months of work on the transfer program thus far, and in the weeks ahead as she continues to answer questions for our members.


Although the recent shutdown only lasted one day, it caused a great deal of confusion and uncertainty. We are still operating under a Continuing Resolution, so another shutdown is possible in the coming weeks. FEA and NEA continue to advocate that our schools must be kept open and fully staffed. We will inform members of any new development on this issue. Check your e-mail for our updates or follow our FaceBook page.


During the week of Feb 12-16, I will be visiting our schools in Ft. Jackson and Laurel Bay. I am looking forward to the chance to speak with members there. Please check with your local leadership for meeting times and dates.


During my travels, an all too familiar topic continues to come up: "HR is broken." In spite of DoDEA's pledge to be a world-class school system, we still do not have a HR system in place to support the educators who carry out DoDEA's mission. Educators cannot get answers about pay, benefits, retirement and a host of other issues. If you cannot get answers or information from your HR reps, please write again and copy your local FEA leadership so that we can document these issues and continue to address them with management.


DoDEA normally ranks high in any national standings. Unfortunately, once again, DoDEA has ranked in the "Lower Quartile" of the annual survey of the "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government." In this survey, based on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, DoDEA fell to 322 out of 339 included agencies and subcomponents. (Last year's ranking was 256 out of 305) DoDEA's Community Strategic Plan, with a base line ranking in 2012 of 218, called for DoDEA to move into the top 50% on this list by SY 2017-18. Even setting the bar that low, DoDEA has managed to move further down on this list. Given the problems with HR, Pay, Professional Development, Retirement and other issues, this is not surprising. What is also notable is that, in spite of the lack of support for employees indicated by this ranking, our schools still do a great job, ranking high on numerous national indicators. Will DoDEA use this data to improve working conditions for our employees or, as too often happens, ignore the data they do not like? For the complete breakdown of the survey, Click here.


To help you integrate Black History Month into your classroom, this link offers a selection of lesson plans that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels: NEA's Black History Month resources


The week of Feb 5-9 is National School Counseling Week this year. We are very fortunate to have these dedicated and knowledgeable professionals in our schools. Take a moment this week to thank a counselor for the great work they do. For more information go to: National School Counseling Week


Congratulations to the staff and association leadership at Edgren High School in Misawa for achieving 100 percent membership in their local association this school year! This is an awesome accomplishment and FEA is very honored by the trust and support all those at Edgren have shown in us. Thank you so much!

A reminder to all our other schools to please send us a message at this email if you have achieved 100 percent membership this school year. We'd love to recognize you as well in a future update.


As the semester ends for many of our overseas schools, it is a good time to remind members that, before you retire, you should file and elevate a "Goodbye Grievance". This will allow FEA to represent you in the event you receive a debt letter after you retire. For copies of this form, please see your FRS.


Whether you're planning to retire soon or in decades, you should sign up now for pre-retired membership in FEA and NEA. By doing so, you lock in your lifetime retired membership now at the current rate and ensure you will remain eligible for benefits such as professional liability insurance (which you can use if you continue to teach full time or as a sub in retirement) and the full range of NEA Member Benefits Programs. Also, if you've signed up previously for pre-retired membership and have since retired, please send a message to Nereyda Jones, letting her know we should switch your status from pre-retired to retired. Learn more about retired or pre-retired membership at this page.