March 1, 2017 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: March 1, 2017


Tomorrow (or today, depending on what time of day it is in your part of the world when you get this) is NEA's Read Across America Day! The March 2 celebration of reading and the legacy of Dr. Seuss is an annual highlight of the school year for DoDEA and for schools everywhere, ever since NEA began the event 20 years ago. It's always a thrill to see the many creative ways our members lead this celebration in our schools. If you're still looking for a last-minute idea to celebrate, go to NEA's Read Across America site. And please share photos of yourself and your fellow Association members celebrating the day. You can send them to FEA or post them to Twitter using #ReadAcrossAmerica.


If you are an excessed employee who was placed through the transfer program and you have checked one of the reconsideration boxes on your reassignment letter, please notify FEA's Connie Shanaghan at this email so she can confirm your name is included on the reconsideration list.


If you are retiring or otherwise separating from DoDEA at the end of this school year, please submit your paperwork now to notify management of your intention to do so. The vacancy your retirement/separation will create can be used to place an excessed educator, of which there are still several in need of placements following the close of the transfer program. Thank you for helping out your fellow educators!


FEA and NEA continue to lobby for DoDEA schools to be exempted from the federal civilian hiring freeze enacted by President Trump. The frustration we feel over this issue is surpassed only by the frustrations of our members, their students and the military parents who are forced to deal with understaffed schools throughout DoDEA. It is very disheartening that the decision makers at the Pentagon and the White House don't see providing adequate learning opportunities for DoDEA students as a priority.


Recently, I was able to visit our schools in the Zama and Atsugi areas. It was great to have a chance to talk with teachers about issues that impact their lives and their classrooms. Many teachers expressed concerns about the growing trend to micromanage our classrooms. This is particularly disturbing since teachers are the ones who know their students best and who know what works for them and what they need to succeed. Decisions by people who have not been in the classroom for years and administrators coming through with checklists are truly not beneficial to students. Furthermore, teachers noted with frustration that more attention seems to be paid to what is on their walls than to the work they are doing with students.

From there, I traveled to Guam along with Jane Loggins, FEA Director for DDESS and Ben Hunter, FEA-SR UniServ Attorney, where we visited with our members at the four schools we represent on the island. We had a wonderful visit, with the weather as warm as the welcome we were given. We saw great teaching and learning going on in our schools. Among the highlights was visiting the GE/STEM class at Anderson ES. The students were incredibly enthusiastic and proud to show off their award-winning robot. It was evident in this classroom that the emphasis was on students and learning, and NOT what was on the walls. Every time I visit DoDEA schools, I am amazed at the work our educators do in classrooms around the world.


As employees begin to think about RAT travel for Summer 2017, it is amazing that we are still hearing of problems with RAT payments from LAST summer. One educator wrote me today saying he had JUST received payment for a claim submitted six months ago! As teachers have often said to me, "Imagine if we ran our classrooms this way!?" We have repeatedly asked DoDEA to address this issue and to explain what they are doing to ensure these problems do not happen again this summer, but so far we have not received any new information or guidance.


Find lesson plans and other resources you can use in your classroom to celebrate Women's History Month by going to NEA's Women's History Month page.


One of the many benefits of Association membership is a complimentary life insurance policy provided to you through NEA's Member Benefits program. This coverage provides up to $1,000 of term life insurance, up to $5,000 of accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage, $50,000 of AD&D insurance for any covered accident that occurs on the job, and $150,000 of life insurance for unlawful homicide while on the job. Your membership in FEA/NEA covers you by this policy automatically, but you do need to name a beneficiary. To do so, go to NEA Member Benefits.