September 15 2015 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: September 15, 2015
Once again, we find ourselves facing the threat of a government shutdown, possibly as early as the beginning of October if politicians can't learn to play together before then. As was the case two years ago, FEA and our great support team in NEA's Government Relations will be pressing the case to decision makers that, should a shutdown occur, DoDEA schools are a vital service to our military families and the building-level education employees who provide vital services to students and their families should absolutely be exempted from any shutdowns. There is still hope for a continuing budget resolution or other solution to avoid a shutdown. We will update our members as the situation comes more into focus over the coming weeks.
OPM DATA BREACH
In early September, OPM announced it had awarded a contract to a firm to provide theft protection services for over 21 million individuals -- including applicants for federal jobs (regardless whether they were hired), current/retired/separated federal employees who submitted information for background checks, and spouses and family members of those same individuals -- whose personal information was potentially compromised by a second data breach of OPM's records.
You will recall that OPM, last spring, announced an initial data breach that potentially affected over 4 million federal workers. This second, larger, data breach was announced over the summer and the process of notifying those whose personal information was compromised is just beginning.
Many FEA members and DoDEA employees were impacted by the initial data breach and received notifications as such, including details of credit monitoring and ID theft protection services made available to them through OPM. It is likely that more of our members, and possibly some of their family members, will be notified they are potentially impacted by this second, larger data breach. As always, we urge our members to be very vigilant about possible attempts to steal your identity or use your personal information illegally. I encourage you to visit the OPM web site to read the information they have put out and to visit www.feaonline.org to read the Association's information as well.
FEA has invoked arbitration over DODDS-Europe's requirement that coaches and students sleep on gym floors when traveling to away games/matches. This mandate by DODDS-Europe violates a 2010 settlement agreement the Association reached with management. We will update our members on this issue as it progresses. DODDS-Europe has also instituted a new policy this school year, requiring coaches to keep all of their students in their "line of sight" at all times when traveling. The new requirement is not only a change in past practice, it is also unreasonable and physically impossible. We hope to resolve this issue amicably with DODDS-Europe. If that is not possible, we will consider all available options to remedy the situation.
CCRSM MATH IMPLEMENTATION
While meeting with teachers on my current tour, I have heard many concerns about the current implementation of the new CCRS Math Standards. Teachers want this implementation to be successful, but many have told me that the early return training did not adequately prepare them for the challenges that this change brings. Teachers have also told me about the long hours of preparation and gathering materials that this new implementation requires.
FEA has advocated for practical, hands on training that provides teachers time to collaborate and create lessons with support and the necessary resources. We have also advocated that future trainings allow for differentiation for educators who are not directly involved in the instruction of math in order to allow them to use the time for professional development and collaboration based on the needs of their jobs.
This implementation is a work in progress. Please continue to let your Association leadership know of your concerns about this ongoing initiative so that we can advocate for what you need to make this a success.
Nominations for any of the four at-large offices on the FEA Board of Directors up for election this school year (President, Vice President/Secretary-Treasurer, NEA Director for Federal, and Human & Civil Rights Coordinator) must be RECEIVED by October 9, 2015. Nomination materials and campaign/election information has been sent to all building FRSs and Stateside local presidents, to be shared with their members. The same information can be found at www.feaonline.org/election.htm.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
The period from September 15 to October 15 is designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month. You can find lessons, activities and other resources -- all keyed to elementary, middle, and high school grade levels -- by going to this site.
Please remember, when trying to contact me with a question or comment on any issue, be sure to use this e-mail address. Please DO NOT use my address in the DoDEA Global Listing.
September 17th is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, commemorating the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The following link provides lessons, activities, and other resources to help your students understand the men and the ideas that created the Constitution of the United States, Constitution Day.
Get this President's Report and other updates from the FEA Washington Office sent directly to you by subscribing at www.feaonline.org/listserv.htm. Be sure to use your personal (non-DoDEA) e-mail address to subscribe. You'll need your FEA/NEA membership ID number, which can be found on page 12 of the FEA Journal recently mailed to you or on the address panel of the NEA Today magazine you receive.