May 21, 2013 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Michael Priser, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: May 21, 2013

FURLOUGHS. FEA and NEA continue the fight against furloughs. As you know, last week it was announced that DoDEA classroom educators and aides would face up to five days of furloughs. The situation for our ESP members in DDESS schools is even worse as they face the possibility of 11 furlough days. It cannot be overstated what a hurtful and unnecessary move this is by the Pentagon. To make children sacrifice valuable classroom learning time -- especially the children of military personnel who already sacrifice so much for us all -- is beyond belief. NEA's Government Relations department has been working this issue on our behalf, circulating information and contacting officials directly to urge them not to furlough DoDEA employees. In addition, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a strong supporter of educators and the military, has been urging his colleagues to sign a letter to the Pentagon, calling for DoDEA to be exempted from any furloughs. You can help too by going to and following the "Furloughs: What You Can Do" link (but do not do so while on government time or property or while using a government computer).

FURLOUGH NOTIFICATIONS. DoDEA has begun to serve nine-month employees with furlough notices. By law, bargaining unit members have 20 calendar days to respond to the notices. FEA has posted a form for DODDS employees to complete and return to their deciding official upon receipt of the furlough notification. That response form can be found at this page. We advise ALL DODDS bargaining unit members to complete this response form and return it to their deciding official within the 20-calendar-day window. DDESS bargaining unit members who receive furlough notices are advised to contact their Local Association President on how to proceed.

BAS TESTING. Even though DoDEA Headquarters has explicitly stated that substitute teachers would be provided as often as they are needed in order for K-3 teachers to complete the BAS testing, this is not being done. FEA continues to get reports around the world in which substitute coverage is denied, teachers are told the days are limited, or specialists are asked to cancel their programs and serve as substitutes in the classrooms. Such actions violate the MOU that management signed. FEA has spoken directly with the Director for immediate and direct intervention about these concerns. Ms. Fitzgerald has stated that school administrators would be notified to provide subsitute teachers as needed (without limitations) and that specialists would not be used to test or substitute teach during this BAS assessment period. If this does not occur in your school, please log all violations and submit those to your FRS (keeping a copy of the log for yourself). If this does not correct the situation, contact me directly at this email.

DODEAs COMMUNITY STRATETIC PLAN--INCREDIBLE. When I say that the new CSP is "incredible," I mean that it is not to be believed. DoDEA Headquarters orchestrated a procedure that had the appearance of gaining input from educators and then completely rewrote the plan at the Headquarters level. The goals do not even follow the practice of establishing a baseline and setting specific, observable outcomes. While the 5 primary goals stated in the CSP are admirable achievements to strive for, Headquarters has added 33 top-down metrics that are unrealistic and merely serve as window dressing. While Headquarters cut reading programs, it put in a goal saying ALL third graders will be reading on grade level or above or be in an intervention program. It states that 75% of our fifth grade students will meet physical education criteria in 4 years despite only providing enough staffing in elementary schools for less than one hour of PE per week. Headquarters claims it will eliminate all pay problems and erroneous debt collections letters (while it has yet to abide by existing arbitrator's orders). FEA has attempted to outline the numerous problems with management's top-down CSP on our website. All of these points were made with management, and rejected. The full Headquarters plan can be read here. The most disturbing part of the report can be found on the title page: "Volume One."

EXCESS PLACEMENTS. The Excess Placement Program continues to wind down. All Excessed educators have now been placed and we are awaiting final word from DoDEA Headquarters on when the VSIP/VERA program will officially be closed, so that those of you waiting to turn in retirement paperwork can do so. We will alert you as soon as Headquarters ends VSIP/VERA consideration.

EXCESS RECONSIDERATION. If you are an FEA member and checked one of the reconsideration options on your reassignment letter, please let us know by emailing us so we can confirm your request is reviewed. Unfortunately, reconsideration will be especially difficult this year for educators who were placed in vacancies created by VERA/VSIP offers. The Excess Placement Program rules state that "No reconsideration will be given to excess employees who received placement based on a VERA/VSIP approval, unless that vacancy can be utilized by another unplaced excessed employee". Approved applicants will receive reconsideration until June 1.

CORRECTION. In the May FEA Journal listing of schools that met their Plus 1 goal of increasing membership during the past year, the faculty and staff at Ansbach Elementary School were accidentally left off of the list. FEA apologizes sincerely for this mistake and thanks the members and local leaders at Ansbach Elementary for their support of the Association. Thank you and well done!