May 15 2014 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA Presidents Report
DATE: May 15, 2014

Just a few excessed individuals remain to be placed and this means that a few more VSIP/VERA offers may still be sent out. If you are still hoping to receive a VSIP or VERA offer before submitting your retirement or resignation paperwork, it may be worthwhile to wait a little longer, just in case your position does become a match to place one of these last few excessed individuals.

During my recent visit to four complexes in DDESS, the effect of the staffing cuts for specialists was all too evident. In addition to those directly impacted by cuts to their positions, students will be impacted by cuts to those programs and schools will have to rethink schedules, often adding duties to other professionals to meet the demands of a schedule.

It is FEA's position that cuts to student services should always be the last resort, and that any cuts should first be made above the school level. We will continue to advocate that DoDEA reconsider these cuts.

We have just learned that the post allowance for Korea would be reduced to 0%. We are contacting government officials, including State Department officials, to obtain more information regarding the reduction. We suspect the survey, which was used to eliminate the post allowance in Korea, might not be an accurate reflection of the true costs. We will advocate that a new survey be conducted and the post allowance be restored.

Congratulations to Gretchen Wall, an FEA member at Vilseck Elementary in Germany, for being named a recipient of a Learning and Leadership Grant from the NEA Foundation. Gretchen will be using the grant money to create a Vilseck Elementary Literacy Initiative, with the goal of encouraging a diverse group of students in becoming avid readers and writers. It's wonderful that Gretchen took advantage of this grant opportunity, which is just one more added benefit of FEA/NEA membership. The NEA Foundation offers Learning and Leadership Grants, and Student Achievement Grants. Application rounds are conducted three times per year, with the next application deadline coming up June 1. Learn more by going to the NEA Foundation's grant information page. Thanks, Gretchen, for your initiative and for sharing the good news about these grant opportunities with your fellow members!

FEA is proud to announce that Alina Rozanski, a choir and social studies teacher at Netzaberg Middle School, has been selected as our nominee for the 2015 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. We had a number of highly qualified contenders for the nomination this year and I wish we could have selected more than one of these deserving candidates to represent FEA in the competition for the Foundation award. As our nominee, Alina will be judged against nominees from other NEA state affiliates for the top prize, to be awarded at a banquet in Washington DC next February. Congratulations to Alina and to all those who were considered for this honor.

As I write this Report, I am still "on the road" in the Pacific. I had a great visit to Korea and was able to visit 5 schools as well as take part in the Korea FRS training and attend the TEAK meeting. With me are HT Nguyen, our Executive Director, Mary Kusler of NEA's Government Relations, Maury Koffman of the NEA Executive Committee, and Debra Degalis, Pacific Area Director. It has been great to meet with members and for all of us to hear the concerns and questions brought by our members.

We will be in Okinawa as this report comes out and then we are going on to Japan. Many thanks to all the local leaders helping with the arrangements for these meetings. As always, please excuse any delay in responding to your email while we are all traveling.

The May issue of the FEA Journal was mailed out last week. It includes additional information on the lawsuit FEA has filed over the pay freeze for DODDS members the past several years, as well as results of the recent FEA Area Director elections and other items of interest. You can also read about FEA's upcoming Annual Membership Meeting preceding the NEA Representative Assembly in Denver. If you've not received your copy yet, it's in the mail; or, you can read it online at FEA's Web site,