August 23, 2018 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: August 23, 2018
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.
The August issue of the FEA Journal should be coming to you soon if it has not already arrived. 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. We anticipate a lot of news this year, so in addition to my President's Reports, FEA Washington will be sending out more frequent Legal and News Updates as we face the challenges ahead.
LINE OF COMMUNICATION
Every new school year brings challenges, and I am sure this one will bring more than usual. 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.
Please remember, if you need to contact me, please use my NEA address, email@example.com, as this is often easier for me to access than DoDEA Outlook. In contacting me, please keep your local leadership "in the loop."
SPEAKING OF COMMUNICATION
I have often complained about DoDEA's poor communication, but this example "takes the cake." FEA was informed in 2016 that DoDEA would be rolling out Windows10 to our schools. As part of our representational duty, we submitted bargaining proposals on this rollout in October 2016. Just this month, we finally received responses to those proposals, some 22 months later. While they declared most of our proposals "non-negotiable," ironically they also said that some of them were "moot" because trainings, installation, etc. had already taken place! This poor planning and communication negatively impacts instruction and our students. This is NO way to run a school system.
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
As of this writing, DoDEA is going ahead with its misguided directive to not provide substitute support for the administration of the BAS in grades K-3. The Association has provided clear evidence that classroom educators feel this does not provide good learning conditions or assessment conditions for their students, but DoDEA once again chooses to ignore the professional judgment of its outstanding teachers. This is just one more indication that DoDEA is sadly off course.
As school begins, DoDEA still has not completed the adoption of a new English Language Proficiency Comprehensive Assessment. FEA and FEA/SR raised concerns about this delay during last school year. DoDEA has authorized the use of LAS Links as the DoDEA approved language proficiency test until further notification. If a school does not have enough LAS Links screening forms, please contact Tracy Knick at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy your union representatives.
This summer, along with 5 other FEA leaders, I took part in the NEA Mid Atlantic Regional Organizing Institute. This was a great 3-day session on engaging and listening to members and the importance of working together. Our strength truly is in our unity.
RED FOR RESPECT
At many of our schools, members have begun to wear "Red for Respect." This is a great way to show solidarity and to remind everyone that the educators who have given DoDEA schools such an outstanding reputation deserve respect and deserve to have their professional input heard. I hope we will continue this visible sign of strength and unity throughout the year!
There is outstanding work going on in our schools and our local associations; ideas and practices that should be shared with others. If you or your local association has an idea that is working to engage members, to improve professional practice, or just to provide a little fun and stress relief for your members, please let us know, so we can share it. One example is the new educators' group that AEAO (Okinawa) has created to engage and support new DoDEA educators. Please share the great work going on in your communities!
I wish each of you a very successful school year!