January 2019 FEA Stateside Newsletter
Jane Loggins - FEA Director for DDESS
Ben Hunter - FEA-SR General Counsel
Angelia Stubbs - FEA-SR General Counsel
Happy New Year and Welcome Back to 2019
Tom Brady Declares Pupil Teacher Ratio Increases for High Schools -- Although DoDEA is facing no cuts to its budget for next school year, Director Tom Brady has decided to increase the pupil teacher ratio at all DoDEA high schools. DoDEA has noted that some high school classes have less than ten student enrolled. Many high school courses have over twenty-two enrolled. DoDEA headquarters staffers did not reach out to the union for input on actual class size. Does anyone at headquarters actually realize how and what actual high school course enrollment looks like? DoDEA may not have realized that many of our high school classes have over twenty-five students enrolled. Our middle schools with a PTR of 16/1 have many classes with over twenty-eight students enrolled. This exceeds the PTR created set by DoDEA.
Many of the courses with lower enrollment in our high schools are specialty courses specific to technology applications, AP courses and ROTC. DoDEA parents should be concerned that any course with less than ten students enrolled could be eliminated. As a parent that had children attend DoDEA schools in DODDS and DDESS I realize how important a low PTR is for students and learning. My own children benefited from low PTR in DoDEA schools receiving high quality learning experiences. These learning experiences not only were educational but they also provided strong social and emotional foundations and life skills. Tom Brady often says his own family benefited as DoDEA students. Does he not care about the students in his schools today? Would Mr. Brady raise PTR if his own children would be impacted or lose an opportunity to enroll in a specialty course with low PTR?
As an educator, we all know how important low pupil teacher ratio is in our classrooms. This benefits instruction and also allows educators to meet the needs of all students? Brady's notice on the change to PTR mentions this will increase resources for improving technology in our schools, was technology not already part of the DoDEA budget? Increasing class size to gain resources when the DoDEA budget has not been cut makes no sense.
Brady's notice on PTR also touts College to Career Readiness (Common Core) and the DoDEA Comprehensive Assessment System (PARCC) as essential to student achievement. Both of these initiatives, by their original names, have been tried and dropped as failures by most state and local school systems over the past ten years but our Director is implementing them in DoDEA schools. Why? Our schools have always been successful!
Why is it that DoDEA wants to cut school level employees while it continuously adds employees to DoDEA headquarters, CIL's, DSO's and ISS staff? Educators in our schools are the professionals that see children every day. We are the people that make a difference for DoDEA students.
Finally, why does DoDEA want to take away from our schools? Tom Brady chose to eliminate the FLES program; Linda Curtis stated FLES was not equitable across DoDEA. She said not every school had FLES so instead of increasing FLES teachers and providing one for each school DoDEA eliminated the program. Do the leaders at DoDEA headquarters not want children exposed to other languages? Makes no sense!
School level educators know what is best for our students. DoDEA needs to let us continue to do the work we have done for years, creating high level learning environments in our classrooms and educating our students, as they become successful adults.
Possible RIF and or VERA VSIP -- DoDEA has not provided FEA SR any official notice of RIF or VERA VSIP at this time. However, in Mr. Brady's notice of the decision to increase PTR in our high schools, he mentioned the possibility of VERA and VSIP. FEA SR will meet with DoDEA in the near future to discuss any possible RIF. We will also make sure RIF procedures in the MLA are followed.
DPMAP (New Performance System) Certified -- The Certified DPMAP MOU was shared with local presidents just before the winter break. Prior to implementation the agency and union must resolve open issues about training and standards. Please see your local president if you would like a copy of the MOU. It should also be posted on feaonline.org.
Red for Respect -- Now more than ever educators need to continue wearing RED for RESPECT. We will show our solidarity by wearing RED. All educators deserve RESPECT. We are the heart and of our schools. We make a difference in students' live every day.
Read Across America Grants -- Congratulations to Marilyn Carter - Diamond Elementary Fort Stewart; Shirley Salters -- Poole Elementary, Fort Bragg; Pam Bailey -- Gordon Elementary, Fort Bragg; Norma Sanders -- Heroes Elementary, Camp Lejeune; Kerrie Ammons -- Fort Jackson; Carol Ann Dula -- Tawara Terrace Elementary, Camp Lejeune and Jennifer Boyles -- White Elementary, Fort Benning. All of these wonderful leaders applied for and received a NEA Read Across America Grant! These grants will benefit students during upcoming Read Across America local events. Thank you all for applying for these grants and being advocates for our students' education!
Know Your Rights -- MLA - Article 11 Section 1 Safe and Health Working Conditions
a The Agency recognizes its responsibility to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment and to follow government guidelines regarding environmental conditions for Federal buildings. The Agency therefore commits to make reasonable efforts in this regard to contain asbestos and provide sanitary facilities, mold-free air, adequate lighting, ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and work areas free from pollutants and excessive noise levels.
b The Agency will make reasonable efforts to provide a work area free of weapons, explosive devices, and threatening behavior.
c The Agency will make reasonable efforts to establish channels of communication with officials of the host military department and to ensure that adequate support is provided to maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
d The Agency shall notify the Local Association President and appropriate Faculty Representative Spokesperson when the Agency becomes aware of health and safety problems in a school or schools.
e The Association commits to cooperating with the Agency to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment by making reasonable efforts to encourage employees to adhere to established safety regulations and to otherwise perform their respective duties in a safe manner.
f The Agency will train employees in appropriate safety matters.
g Employees will be alert to unsafe practices, equipment, or conditions, as well as environmental conditions, within their immediate areas that might represent suspected health hazards. If an employee observes a condition that a reasonable person would perceive as unsafe, the employee shall report same to his/her immediate supervisor.
h The Agency agrees to request the host base Industrial Hygiene Office to make determinations concerning bargaining unit member(s)' exposure to chemical or physical hazards. If appropriate, the Industrial Hygiene Office will place the employee on medical surveillance, document the exposure and treatment in the employee's medical record, and provide the employee a copy.
MLA Certified -The MLA remains in full force and effect until a new agreement is legally implemented. An update about the status of contract bargaining can be found at feaonline.org.