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June 3, 2011 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: June 3, 2011


DOD VOUCHERS FAIL -- Thanks in part to strong lobbying by NEA and a coalition of pro-public-school organizations, an effort to divert DoD resources to unaccountable private schools was defeated last week. An amendment to the DoD Authorization Bill put forth by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.) would have spent government funds on private school vouchers, claiming they were needed for DoD dependents with developmental disabilities. In reality, the vouchers were completely unnecessary -- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act already provides for complete services for students with special needs, including covering the cost of private school if necessary to ensure full services. In addition, they would have resulted in already scarce taxpayer funding being handed over to private schools at a time when many public schools serving military communities are already facing layoffs and budget cuts. The amendment would also have had a negative impact on DDESS schools, since it would have diverted funds from DDESS to private schools, even though DDESS does an excellent job accommodating students with special needs. Hunter's amendment was defeated by a vote of 213-203. It had earlier been overwhelmingly rejected by the House Armed Services Committee but was brought up for a floor vote anyhow. We are grateful to the House members of both parties who voted against this unnecessary voucher scheme.

COACHES CASE -- As noted in previous updates, the Association reached a settlement in Association Grievance 08-08 (the Coaches case). For more information on the settlement agreement, please go to: the update on the Coaches Case.
The settlement required affected coaches to submit their completed claim forms to DoDEA headquarters by the deadline of December 10, 2010. The Association has been in contact with the coaches who submitted a timely claim to DoDEA in accordance with the settlement agreement to inform them of the status of their claim.
If you submitted a timely claim to management (by December 10, 2010) and retained evidence of your timely submission, but you were not contacted by our office regarding the status of your claim, please contact our office with this information no later than June 17, 2010 (the last day of school in DoDEA). Please contact the Association at fealegal@nea.org.

SOCIAL STUDIES MATERIALS -- DoDDS personnel are reminded that, according to the MOU signed on February 28 of this year, you may request one-half day to review the new PK-6 Social Studies curriculum materials after you have been trained on them. If you make such a request and are denied for any reason, please inform your FRS.

FEA ANNUAL MEETING -- Any FEA member in the Chicago area later this month is encouraged to attend the FEA Annual Membership Meeting, being held June 29 and 30 at the Blackstone Renaissance Hotel on Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park. This annual meeting, which is open to all current and retired FEA members, is a great opportunity for you to question and hear from FEA elected leaders and staff members, as well as to connect with your fellow members from around the world. As always, our meeting takes place just prior to the NEA Representative Assembly. To learn more, go to our Annual Meeting information page.

THANK YOU -- As we prepare to wrap up the 2010-2011 school year, I want to thank all of our members for your support of FEA this year. Without you, there is no Association. I also want to thank our many local presidents, FRSs, FRs, building representatives and other local leaders who do the crucial day-to-day work that makes our Association effective. I encourage all members to extend a personal "thank you" to your local leaders as well. Finally, I want to thank the members of the FEA Board of Directors, as well as our European District Reps, Pacific Country Presidents, Stateside Local Presidents, and Human & Civil Rights Coordinators throughout the world for your hard work on behalf of the members this year. Your dedication is awesome. I encourage all members to follow their examples and become involved in the Association at any level. We need your knowledge, your skills and your passion for educating military dependents in order to ensure FEA remains a strong and productive organization. Your participation is vital. Remember, FEA is YOUR Professional Association -- play an active role!

END OF THE YEAR -- This will be the last "regularly scheduled" President's Report of the 2010-2011 school year. We may put out one or more special updates, if necessary. Some of our DDESS members are already finished for the year; I hope you are all enjoying your well-deserved summer break. For everyone who is still wrapping up the current year, I hope these last few days go smoothly for you and you have a great summer. It's been a challenging year -- but then they all are! In addition to the everyday stresses our members face as education professionals, you faced natural disasters in Japan and at several DDESS sites. Pay problems have been simply outrageous since last summer and management continues to push policies that can charitably be described as "misguided." With the ongoing attacks on public education and workers rights, I expect we'll have a lot more challenges in the months and years ahead. For now, though, I hope you spend this summer reflecting upon the outstanding work you've done over the past year and remembering what an important role you play in the lives of our military students and their families. I hope you all have a safe, happy and relaxing summer.

Best wishes,
Michael