May 15 2012 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: May 15, 2012

BAS UPDATE -- As you know, DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald has unilaterally ordered BAS testing for DoDDS grades K-3 students at this late date in the school year. FEA and DoDEA have agreed to meet with a federal mediator on May 23 in order to resolve this matter. FEA had tried to offer solutions that would provide DoDEA Headquarters with the data they requested without resulting in a significant loss of instructional time (as had occurred last fall). DoDEA responded to FEA's request to delay this unilateral implementation by saying, "we are unaware of any adverse, or likely adverse impact on our educators, nor has the Association identified substantial present or likely adverse impact on its members. We believe any adverse impact, if it exists, would be of a de minimus nature at most." It is clear that such comments by non-educators show a major disconnect between Arlington and those in the classroom.

FEA is concerned that pressure will be put on teachers to limit substitute coverage. Educators are reminded they are to be provided with substitute coverage for as many days necessary to complete all testing. Also no DoDDS FEA bargaining unit member (including ETs) should be required to input data into the computers.

Again, remember to follow all directives from your principal. FEA is hopeful that mediation will lead to a meaningful solution that does not penalize students who were subjected to numerous disruptions last fall because of Headquarters' initiatives.

ESL TRAINING UPDATE -- On April 20, DoDEA Headquarters announced that it wished to implement new standards for ESL students along with requiring a new assessment instrument. Their proposal was to have teachers be trained online by using two of their summer days during Headquarters' pre-selected window periods. Headquarters wants no face-to-face training, no networking with colleagues, and no access to one's school materials during the training. FEA immediate sought input from ESL teachers. We submitted proposals to Headquarters. FEA believes that training needs to be completed before the end of this school year, with face-to-face training and access with all materials along with an opportunity to work cooperatively. FEA fears that Headquarters will drag out negotiations so that there will be no time left this year to provide training. Headquarters replied to FEA's request for immediate action by saying that they do not have to meet with FEA since they believe there is no adverse affect on teachers. Again, a decision being made by non-certificated teachers in Arlington that does not serve the interests of our ESL students. I have contacted Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald twice to request immediate action. On Friday, she told FEA she would work the issue immediately. We are asking that ESL educators be listened to on this important implementation initiative.

TRANSFER PROGRAM -- Because several Group C Excess educators had been given placements that resulted in no moving costs for DoDEA, FEA has been informed that enough funding has been freed up to pay for four additional transfer placements this spring. FEA and DoDEA representatives will get together later this week to make those placements. The placements will go to applicants who match vacancies beginning with applicants from Group D and will be determined based upon Service Computation Date within each transfer group. Any teacher in Group D or F who receives an offer at this late date, may decline without penalty. Group D/F transfers will be made to vacancies that could not be used for Group A+, A, B or C placements. Although these four additional transfer placements are better than none, FEA continues to feel that this year's transfer program was grossly underfunded and will hurt morale and professional growth opportunities for DoDDS educators.

WITNESS TO THE EXCELLENCE -- As I continue my travels overseas, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of schools in Europe and Asia to see the excellent job our members do. I had a great time watching our teachers in Heidelberg raise nearly $2,000 as an educational scholarship for a deserving student. I got to meet with teachers in Stuttgart and hear about their documented excellence in instruction. I witnessed our members in Korea agree to partner with Korean teachers in non-DoDDS schools in order to network and provide meaningful professional development for members. Thank you all for the great work you do everyday. I will continue to listen to your concerns and needs. I pledge to make sure that Headquarters is aware of all you do and listen to your voice. You teach the children.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY -- NEA members are eligible to apply for Walden's NEA Excellence in Public School Education Full-Tuition Scholarship Program. These full-tuition scholarships will be awarded to NEA members who have made a positive impact on public education by acting as leaders within their school or community.
To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be an NEA member and enroll as a new student in one of the following Walden programs:
M.S. in Early Childhood Studies
M.S. in Education (M.S.Ed.)
M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology
To apply, submit an essay and a letter of recommendation to by Monday, July 23, 2012, for the Sept. 4 start date.
Get complete information about this scholarship opportunity here.