August 20 2017 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: August 20, 2017


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 wish you the best as you start a new school year! I also want to welcome all of the new educators who are joining DoDEA this year. FEA, the worldwide advocate within the federal system for educators' rights and for quality education for our military connected students, stands ready to support you.


Every new school year brings challenges, and I am sure this one will be no exception. Please bring local concerns to your FRS, Building Representative or Local President. Issues that cannot be resolved locally will be elevated up the chain. FEA will continue to advocate for the best working conditions for our members AND the best learning conditions for our students.


Over the summer, management informed FEA of its intention to eliminate sub coverage for elementary teachers as they administer the BAS assessment. Despite our pointing out the difficulties of both teaching a classroom of students AND simultaneously administering a meaningful reading assessment to each individual student, the decision makers at DoDEA have shown no interest in listening to reason and preserving the option for sub coverage. FEA has been working to inform the public about this completely misguided move by management, in hopes that the non-educators at DoDEA who make these decisions may be convinced to listen to the parents of students who will lose valuable learning time as a result of this change.


As we begin another school year, it is worth noting that the existing contracts for employees both in Stateside and Overseas DoDEA schools remain in full effect, even as work continues towards new contracts for both bargaining units.


The August issue of the FEA Journal should be coming to you soon if it has not already arrived. (You can also read it here). There is a lot going on these days so stay informed! You can also follow FEA on FaceBook and Twitter. Extra copies of the FEA Journal were mailed to FEA leaders to share with prospective members.


Because the Journal is a printed publication, events sometimes overtake the items printed in that newsletter. We had an instance of that happening this summer when President Trump's nominee to head the Office of Personnel Management, George Nesterczuk, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration, just days after the FEA Journal went to press with an article by our own H.T. Nguyen that outlined how Mr. Nesterczuk would have been no friend to federal workers. His withdrawal was a happy surprise for us, even if it did make that Journal outdated just as it was being mailed out.

Also, the August FEA Journal incorrectly listed the title of Terry McClain as Europe East Area Director. Since Europe has now combined its two Area Directors into a single position, Terry's correct title is simply "Europe Area Director". We apologize for the error.


If your school has not received membership materials from FEA, please send us a message at this email to let us know.


It is important that every educator who participates in professional development sessions takes the time to complete an evaluation of that learning. This includes those from the Dana Center, Catapult Learning as well as DoDEA developed sessions. Each session should provide educators the chance to give feedback. It is important that our educators speak up about whether or not the training is meeting their needs and the needs of their students. If you are NOT provided the opportunity to give feedback or if the evaluation tool does not allow you to give real feedback, please let your FEA leadership know. FEA will continue to advocate for high quality, job specific professional development and your feedback will be helpful.


Keeping track of your pay is incredibly important, especially given the frequency of pay problems our members experience. You can find pay organizers to help you track your pay in either DODDS or DDESS by going to this page.


Please continue to use to contact me. As you know, working remotely with DoDEA Outlook often has its challenges, so email to my NEA account is much more efficient.


I send out this FEA President's Report twice per month (usually around the 1st and 15th of each month). It is automatically sent to every member for whom we have a non-DoDEA email address (such as Gmail or Yahoo) in our database. If you are not receiving this update directly, please notify FEA's Director of Communications, Gary Hritz, at this email and include the non-DoDEA email at which you would like to receive it. We will make sure our database is updated to include your correct contact information.


I especially want to begin this school year by thanking the many Building Representatives, FRSs, FRs and Local Association Officers who have taken on these roles in our schools. The work you do is so important for our schools, our members, and our students.


I want to say "Thank You" and a very big "Good Luck" to all of our new and returning Association members around the world. You are the greatest faculty and staff anywhere and it is FEA's extreme honor to represent you. I hope you all have a great SY 17-18!