April 20, 2016 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: April 20, 2016


This week, representatives of FEA and DODDS met with officials from the DOD Wage and Salary Division to finalize the data used to compute the DODDS salary schedules for SY 15-16.

Here are the average rates of increase, across all steps and salary lanes, for each salary schedule FEA members are paid on:
Classroom teachers -- 2.2 percent average increase
Guidance Counselors -- 2.2 percent average increase
School Psychologists -- 2.7 percent average increase
Speech/Language Pathologists -- 2.3 percent average increase

Please keep in mind: those are the AVERAGE rates of increase for all steps and lane on each school. The rate of increase you will actually receive may be more or less, depending where you are on the scale.

By comparison, GS employees will receive a one percent pay raise this year.

As you know, DODDS salaries are required by law to be equal to the basic rate of compensation for similar positions in the roughly 265 urban school districts in the U.S. with populations of at least 100,000. Because it takes most of the school year to collect data from those districts, the current year's salary figures for DODDS are not known until near the end of a given school year. However, thanks to FEA's victory in the March Case, DODDS employees receive a retroactive pay adjustment each spring to bring their actual pay for the current school year up to date with what they would have been paid, had the correct salary figures been available back in August 2015. DODDS members should look for that retro pay in one of their upcoming paychecks.

Please note, this retroactive salary adjustment is separate from the retro pay most DODDS employees recently received as a result of FEA's victory in the Pay Freeze Case.

VIEW THE SY 15-16 DODDS SALARY SCHEDULES HERE (member login required)


FEA has consistently pushed for more school level participants in task forces, text and curriculum adoptions, etc. Normally, Jane Loggins, FEA Director for DDESS, and I both receive requests from DoDEA for representatives. When we receive a request for an Association rep for one of these meetings, our normal procedure is to send out a request to Area Directors, local Presidents and Division Reps. When there are numerous qualified candidates, we try to balance participants from our regions and districts. We truly believe school level educator participation is important and we appreciate our members' willingness to represent FEA at these meetings.


A reminder that the DCAT survey is still open to those who received invitations to participate. Please be aware the survey is voluntary and that your supervisor will be able to see your responses.

Also, LI M/S teachers should have received information about the survey concerning the Unique Curriculum implementation. FEA worked with DoDEA on this survey to gather feedback about the implementation of this new curriculum and we encourage teachers to take the time to respond to this survey.


Please be aware that DODDS has informed FEA it will NOT be offering any more VSIP/VERAs this year for DODDS employees. DDESS may offer its employees more VSIP/VERAs, however, as it attempts to seek placements for its employees affected by RIFs.


During my recent trip to Germany, I visited Aukamm ES in Wiesbaden, where collaboration is working for teachers and students. The principal has arranged for subs for teachers and has provided those subs with science enrichment lessons. This allows the teachers the time needed for collaboration without the additional burden of creating lesson plans, and it provides the students with meaningful instruction. The teachers have used this time to explore the new CCRSM standards and collaboratively plan their lessons. Principal Russ Claus is to be commended for supporting his teachers in this meaningful way. Given the poor organization of the materials for the CCRSM rollout, teachers say this additional time has been a "lifeline" for them.

There are other ways in which time for meaningful collaboration can be found without taking teachers' planning time or extending the duty day. Some complexes are looking at late arrival or early release of students on a regular schedule. Once time is found for this, teachers must have the flexibility to use the time in ways that are relevant and meaningful for them and for their students. This should NOT be a "one size fits all" initiative to check a box for AdvancEd.


Last week, thanks to the NEA, HT and I were able to be part of a White House meeting entitled Operation Educate the Educators, about helping military connecting students. The meeting included remarks by Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education John King.


As always, it was a pleasure to be in schools and speaking with members on my recent trip to Germany. Many thanks to all who helped make my trip so pleasant and productive. A special thanks to all the members who turned out to speak with me during school or at one of the four afterschool meetings we held. Among the most mentioned topics were the lack of HR support, continuing pay issues, and of course, unreliable technology. FEA will continue to bring those issues to DoDEA or when necessary take additional steps outside of the agency to push for resolving these issues.


As I travel around, I continue to hear of teacher and retirees who are plagued with debt letters, pay problems and unresolved grievances. Since DoDEA has been unable or unwilling to resolve these issues, our UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman has recommended contacting DoDEA Director Brady as well as others in the DoD and your elected officials. Be sure to write only while off government property, while not on duty, and not using a government-owned computer or other equipment. For more information go to this page.


This week, I will travel visit with members at Ft. Benning and then attend the Stateside Area Council meeting. NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman will be joining our leadership for this visit. Then, during the first week of May, I will be accompanying NEA President Lily Eskelson Garcia as she visits with our members in England. I am working on finalizing plans for a trip to the Pacific during May as well. While e-mail and video conferences are useful, there is no substitute for talking with educators face to face at their worksite.


If you are receiving this Update because someone forwarded it to you, why not take a moment and sign up to receive these directly from our FEA Washington Office. Go to this page. You will need your membership number. We also recommend using your home e-mail address for these updates. Stay informed!