May 1 2014 FEA President's Report

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

On April 22, FEA filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims (Federal Education Association, et al. v. United States) over the salary freeze our DODDS members have been subjected to the past several years. As I mentioned in my last update, FEA believes the salary freeze should have never been applied to any of our members and, even if it were applicable, it would have expired on January 1 of this year. Justice, as they say, is slow, so please don't expect a resolution to this case in time for the start of SY 2014-2015. But we are doing all we can to expedite this case and we are cautiously optimistic that a judge will agree with our interpretation of the law and facts. If we prevail, it means our members will be owed back pay and interest for the pay raises that were improperly denied to them since SY 2011-2012. We will, of course, keep our members updated on this lawsuit in the months ahead as things progress.

The Excessed Placement Program continues, as of late in the day on April 30. Most excessed educators have been placed. There is still the possibility of additional VERA/VSIP offers being made, so V/V applicants should not yet submit their paperwork if they plan to retire or otherwise disconnect from DODEA at the end of the current school year. FEA will send out an announcement when all VERA/VSIP considerations have ended.

I am visiting four DDESS complexes this week: Maxwell AFB, Ft. Rucker, Ft. Benning and Ft. Stewart. During my visits, I have been talking about the importance of membership, about our efforts concerning the RAND study, and about other issues facing our schools and our members. I have also been having conversations with teachers about Common Core and the need for profession development. It is always great to meet with our teachers and I appreciate all those who have helped me set up these visits.

I will leave for the Pacific Spring Trainings on May 6th and am looking forward to speaking with members in Korea, Okinawa, and Japan. As always, keeping up with e-mail is hard while traveling, so please be patient if it takes me a while to respond.

May 4-10 is designated as National Teacher Appreciation Week. Of course, FEA appreciates teachers (and all education employees!) everyday of the year, but it is nice to have this special week set aside to honor them. Included within this week are two specific days -- National Teacher Day on May 6 and National School Nurses Day on May 7 -- that recognize the special contributions of two specific professions. Congratulations and thank you to all of our teachers, school nurses and all education employees who do an incredible job for students every day of the year.

The month of May has a number of designations. There are three I want to call special attention to:
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders include more than 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages. You can learn more about their history and contributions to our culture by visiting this site.
Since 2006, May has also been designated as Jewish American Heritage Month. You can learn more about the 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture by going to this site.
May is also Better Hearing and Speech Month, promoting understanding of and treatment for individuals who experience problems with speaking, understanding or hearing. Learn more at this page.