August 20 2015 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: August 20, 2015
Whether you have been in session for a few weeks like many of our DDESS schools or you are just starting back, like most of our overseas schools, I hope you had a great summer and would like to wish you the best as you start the new school year! FEA, as the worldwide advocate within the federal system for educators' rights and for quality education, stands ready to support you. As always, there is a lot to share, so I will start right in.
Over the summer, OPM announced that a second, larger data breach took place, bringing the number of potentially affected individuals to over 20 million. That number includes nearly 2 million spouses of people who applied for federal employment using SF 86 forms that required a spouse's Social Security Number. OPM is currently in the process of contracting to provide services, such as credit monitoring and ID theft insurance and restoration, for those affected by this larger breach. OPM will be contacting these affected individuals once services are in place.
As federal employees, FEA members are certainly among those potentially affected by this situation. FEA has put out a number of information releases on this topic, available at feaonline.org, including information on services already being offered to the several million federal employees potentially affected by the initial data breach that was announced last spring. I urge all members to visit feaonline.org regularly and to subscribe to our information updates (see how, below) as FEA will be passing on information as this situation continues to evolve. Above all, be vigilant and proactive in protecting your personal information and your identity and take advantage of and sign up for all services made available to you by OPM.
E-QIP BACK ONLINE
Earlier this summer, OPM took its E-QIP system for conducting background checks on federal employees offline so it could implement security enhancements. OPM reports those enhancements have been completed and the E-QIP system is back online. This means that if management tells you to complete a background check with E-QIP, you should do so in a timely manner. If you were asked to do so near the end of SY 14-15 but did not complete the process because the system was taken offline, please note that the allotted time you are given to complete the process begins anew with the start of your 2015-2016 school year (that date will vary depending upon your location and whether you are in DDESS or DODDS).
PAY FREEZE LAWSUIT
In case you missed the story in the August FEA Journal, the federal government is working to implement the judge's decision in FEA's lawsuit over the illegal freezing of DODDS salaries for part of 2014. Calculations for each affected employee must be made and the entire process is expected to take around 18 months.
Last spring, a judge for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims sided with FEA in our contention that DODDS acted improperly by extended a freeze on its employees' salaries through the end of SY 13-14, instead of ending the freeze on the same January 1, 2014, date used for other federal workers. Backpay and benefits/pension adjustments will be owed to any employees who were in FEA's DODDS bargaining unit between January 1, 2014, and July 31, 2014, regardless whether they are currently in the system (this includes then DODDS employees who have since moved to DDESS or retired/separated from DoDEA).
FEA has also supported the idea of extending the settlement beyond our immediate bargaining unit to include individuals who had been in the Mediterranean during that period of 2014 and the government has indicated a willingness to do so. Those members who were in DDESS during that period of 2014 are not impacted by FEA's legal victory since DDESS was under a different pay statute and was never subjected to the federal salary freeze.
SALARY ORGANIZERSThe FEA Web site has a couple of salary organizers members can use to track pay and benefits throughout the year. There is a printable PDF version available that can accommodate both DDESS and DODDS employees, and a downloadable Excel file, created by FEA member Larry Tjelveit at Shape Elementary School, that is more date-specific to DODDS schools. FEA members can access either by going to feaonline.org/passport/salary (member login in required).
The August issue of the FEA Journal should be coming to you soon if it hasn't arrived already (you can also read it online at our Web site). In addition to back to school information, it has information about upcoming FEA elections, etc.
SIGN UP FOR UPDATES
In addition to the Journal, be sure to check the FEA website (feaonline.org) for news and information. To have information sent directly to you, be sure to sign up to receive our President's Report and other important news by going to feaonline.org/listserv.htm. You will need your membership number, which can be found on the address of the latest Journal or NEAToday. Be sure to use your personal (non DoDEA) email address.
If you school has not received membership materials from FEA, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
I recently had a great visit with members in Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell accompanied by FEA Director for DDESS Jane Loggins and local leaders. It was wonderful to have the chance to speak with our members there. Many thanks to all who helped organize my visits and to those who took time to speak with me.
As this update goes out, I will be starting a "world tour" visiting schools in Germany as they start the school year, then moving on to the Pacific and ending with the Stateside Area Council meeting. Although I hear from leaders and members around the world by email, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and for hearing directly from the practitioners in the field. I hope to meet and speak with as many members as possible during my travels.
FEA LEADS THE WAY
Through a generous grant from the NEA Great Public Schools fund, FEA has been offering professional development courses in various locations, allowing teachers the opportunity to collaborate and study the new CCR Math and ELA standards. Response to these classes has been tremendous and FEA hopes to offer more opportunities in the future. Many thanks to FEA Secretary Treasurer Anita Lang and NEA Director for FEA Brian Chance for their work on these classes.
COMMON CORE TOOLKIT
As DoDEA rolls out the new College and Career Ready Math Standards, this NEA Toolkit may be useful to you. Click here. In addition to the NEA's toolkit, this also has a link to the P21 Common Core Toolkit that links the new standards to 21st Century Skills.
Please continue to contact me at email@example.com rather than my address in the DoDEA Global Listing.
Have a great school year and I hope to see you somewhere during my school visits this year!