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March 1 2018 FEA President's Report

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

EXCESS EDUCATORS

DoDEA HQ has received several new/amended vacancies this past week that have made it possible to place all but five excessed educators. One excessed reconsideration was also granted this week. Please be sure to let Connie (cshanaghan@nea.org) know if any new vacancies open at your school.


TRAGEDY

It's been two weeks since the horrific shooting incident at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Our members join the world in sending their love and prayers to those devastated by this tragic event. We know, also, that many of you want to do more. DoDEA has issued guidance to school principals, reminding them of policies and applicable laws governing actions by students as well as faculty. Your building principal should be sharing this information from DoDEA with your school community. When in doubt, please remember that the Hatch Act prohibits any federal employee from engaging in political activity while on duty time, on government property and while using government equipment.


HELPFUL RESOURCE

When violence in schools tops the headlines, it causes anxiety and confusion among young people. To help students who are hearing about senseless gun violence in or near schools and are scared about their safety, NEA offers advice from the National Association of School Psychologists for talking to them about violence and other national tragedies. Click here


PRESIDENT'S TRAVELS

Last month, I was able to visit our schools at Ft. Jackson and Laurel Bay. Next week, I will be visiting schools in Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejeune. Please check with local leaders for details. Later in the month I will travel to Europe for a series of school visits there as well. As always, please be patient if responses to your emails are delayed while I am on the road.


A CELEBRATION OF READING!

It's here - NEA's annual celebration of reading and literacy! As you celebrate NEA's Read Across America, don't forget to take lots of pictures! Please share those with us at fea@feaonline.org.


WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

Now that Kindergarten classes have been doing their initial BAS testing, we can see some of the results of DoDEA's misguided decision to eliminate substitute support for this assessment. Several teachers recently reported to me that students now come to them when it is their turn for the individual assessment and ask to read the story they heard their friends read! Now that there is no support, teachers have to assess kids in close proximity to the other 18+ students they are supervising, so naturally students hear the story and questions. How is this going to be a valid assessment? The Association has repeated pointed out that this is neither good teaching nor good assessment conditions, but DoDEA once again turned a deaf ear to those who work with students every day.


MARCH IS WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

For classroom resources on Women's History, go to this site.


FEA JOURNAL

The February FEA Journal was recently mailed to members and posted online. Highlights include an update on FEA's fight for a "Smart" Leave and Earnings Statement to reduce pay problems, a new blended learning program organized for FEA members through NEA and a recent FEA win that will see Professional Development credits now counting towards pay increases for overseas members. You can read the new Journal here.