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June 1, 2009 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: June 1, 2009


LATEST ON CLASS SIZE, STAFFING ISSUES -- FEA will be meeting with DoDEA Director Dr. Shirley Miles and other DoDEA officials June 10 for our regular monthly meeting. At that meeting, we are hoping Dr. Miles will agree to FEA's suggestion for a series of town hall meetings with DoDEA stakeholders, where information can be shared and questions raised in an open and friendly format. Such a discussion cannot help but ensure that concerns about educational quality and the safety and well-being of our students are addressed.

FEA and the public have many questions for Dr. Miles about her recent proposals; questions that were not adequately or clearly addressed in her memo of May 13. Among them:
  • How is DoDEA calculating the 22.4 pupils-to-teacher average they are now touting as the "real" average class size in DoDEA middle schools? How would the 25:1 PTR being proposed for the middle schools be calculated? And why were 354 middle school teaching positions listed for cuts on Dr. Miles' own memo on the staffing change if, as they have subsequently claimed, nowhere near that number of educators will be cut.
  • What is Dr. Miles response to FEA's concerns that eliminating full-time-classroom aides in kindergarten classes that meet her proposed 18:1 PTR will diminish the quality of education and safety for children in those classrooms?
  • How does Dr. Miles justify adding 160 Resource Manager positions, performing duties already covered by other DoDEA staff, while simultaneously cutting staff at the classroom level?
We've got plenty of other questions for Dr. Miles at our June 10 meeting. I hope she will give them more consideration than the, "I don't know, and I don't care," response she gave to a Stars & Stripes reporter who recently asked her about our concerns over DoDEA's reorganization plans.

GET MORE INFORMATION -- You can get more background on Dr. Miles proposed class size increases and staffing changes, including how you can get involved, by going to FEA's Save Our Schools page.

EXCENT COMPENSATION -- In response to a request from FEA, Dr. Miles has approved additional compensation for SPED educators who have had to put in excessive amounts of time dealing with Excent-related problems this school year. Building principals are to work with district and area SPED Coordinators to develop lists of which employees are to receive this compensation. The lists will then be turned over to DoDEA Headquarters so compensation can be arranged. SPED educators should check with their building principals to learn the procedure and criteria for seeking this extra compensation. Please keep your FEA building representatives informed of your efforts so they can pass any problems along to us.

FEA SURVEY -- FEA members are reminded that our membership survey will remain available until July 1. To complete the survey, go to www.feaonline.org/survey.htm and login using your FEA Membership ID Number and your last name. If you don't know your ID number, please contact us at fea@feaonline.org. We've heard from several members who have had trouble logging in because of the security features on the survey software. The most common problems are cases where someone has already completed the survey on the same computer (the software allows only one response per computer) or the software is not properly recognizing their membership information. If you are an FEA member and have any trouble logging in, please contact us at fea@feaonline.org so we can work with you to resolve the problem. We want input from ALL members, so we appreciate your patience with this process.

FEA ANNUAL MEETING -- FEA members are also reminded that the FEA Annual Membership Meeting will take place June 30 and July 1 at the Marriott Mission Valley hotel in San Diego, California. As always, our meeting is open to any FEA member, Active or Retired, and will be followed by the NEA Representative Assembly, also in San Diego. Anyone interested in attending should visit www.feaonline.org/ra for more information about the meeting, or send your questions to FEAAdmin@nea.org. I hope any past or current FEA members in the area will stop by the FEA Annual Membership Meeting to hear directly from FEA Board and staff members about current issues affecting our members and to have any questions you have addressed.

Have a great week!