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April 2 2010 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: April 2, 2010


TRANSFER PROGRAM -- DoDDS has informed FEA that notification letters have gone out to all educators who received offers in the recent transfer round. Those who received offers have five days from receipt of their notification letter to respond. Excess educators who were placed during the transfer round may be able to request reconsideration if they meet the requirements, but DoDDS must receive your request for reconsideration within two weeks of when you received your transfer reassignment letter. Excess educators and anyone else looking for information on the transfer program should go to www.feaonline.org/transfers.htm for more details.

DODDS SALARIES -- FEA expects to meet with representatives of DoDEA and the DoD Wage & Salary Division in the next few weeks to finalize the retroactive SY 09-10 DoDDS Salary Schedules. Unfortunately, due to the economic problems that have plagued education funding throughout the U.S., we do not expect much of an increase this year. In many states, educators' salaries have been frozen or even cut, and many education employees have been furloughed without pay as states and municipalities struggle to balance their budgets. By law, DoDDS salaries are based on the pay received by educators in large urban areas throughout the U.S. Because these school systems are being hit particularly hard by the ongoing economic downturn in the U.S., our DoDDS salaries are unfortunately affected as well. The new salary figures should be finalized by the middle of the month, but we wanted to warn everyone up-front that the economic pain being felt back home will have an impact upon DoDDS employees as well. We will report back to our members as soon as the new salary figures are finalized.

SCHOOL NURSES -- FEA is aware that DoDEA administrators are floating a proposal to cut a dozen or more school nurse positions overseas. FEA strongly opposes any attempts to cut medical services by highly trained school nurse professionals, especially those meeting the needs of military dependents in foreign countries. Medical facilities in most countries are very different than what most of us are used to and often military families may be isolated from quality facilities, making the services these nurses provide to students even more valuable.
FEA is very concerned that Dr. Miles has added hundreds of new administrator positions worldwide, cut teaching positions for at-risk children this year, and now proposes drastic cuts to our school-level personnel, yet DoDEA refuses to provide information FEA has requested to show how the DoDEA budget will be impacted by upping these admin slots and how these new administrators will be paid for. Again we ask: where is the transparency?

MISPLACED PRIORITIES - FEA has again raised objections to DoDEA Headquarters about the sparseness of professional development opportunities for educators worldwide and the fact that, for another year, no professional development is being offered for elementary school employees. Yet, in spite of this, Dr. Miles will be funding a multi-million dollar training for 500 administrators in Los Angeles this summer. As with the personnel issues cited above, FEA has raised objections to DoDEA about Dr. Miles' spending priorities.

SURVEYS -- A pair of surveys currently being circulated have raised a number of questions from members. One survey, sent out by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), seeks to measure employee satisfaction on a number of issues. This survey was sent out randomly by OPM, so not everyone will receive it, but FEA does encourage anyone who does receive it to complete and return the survey.
There is a separate survey, purported to be on ethics, showing up in some members' mailboxes. Neither FEA nor the people we've asked at DoDEA have any knowledge of this survey or where it came from. Therefore, we recommend that no one complete the ethics survey at this time. If we are able to learn more about the survey we will report back to you.

MILITARY CHILD MONTH -- April is the Month of the Military Child. FEA has created a letter-sized flyer you can print out and display to help commemorate this occasion. You can find the link to the flyer by going to www.feaonline.org

HCR PROGRAM -- FEA's Human & Civil Rights Program, led by our HCR Coordinator Wanda Beatty, is a valuable program every member should know about. Find information, including FEA's Ethnic Minority Compliance Plan, by going to www.feaonline.org/members/hcr.htm

SHARE YOUR TEACHING STORIES -- The NEA Research Department needs your help with an ambitious project to produce an important new book on the past, present and future of the teaching profession in America. NEA is asking active and retired K-12 public school teachers to describe their most memorable experiences as teachers, both inside and outside the classroom, in short vignettes of no more than 1,000 words. NEA wants to capture the range of teacher voices across the country, helping the public understand both the successes and challenges teachers face daily as part of their jobs. The deadline for submissions is April 9th, but NEA wants to encourage all interested teachers to submit their stories even if the deadline has passed. For further information on how to submit a vignette, please visit this link.

VISITS AND MEETINGS -- I will be on the road for most of the next six weeks, starting with visits to Wiesbaden, Patrick Henry ES, Mannheim HS/ES, Landstuhl ES/MS and Ramstein ES, leading up to the DoDDS spring break. After the break, I'll be visiting AF North and Baumholder before going to the Europe Area Council meeting (where I'll also meet with the Eifel and Kaiserslautern associations) and then it's on to the Advisory Council for Dependents Education (ACDE) meeting the week of April 26, with additional meetings in Schweinfurt and Bamberg. In May I'll be visiting the Pacific, but more on that in a future update.

Some of our DDESS schools are already on spring break and the rest of us will have our break in the coming weeks. I hope you all have a safe and restful time and come back fully recharged for the sprint to the finish line.