October 31 2013 FEA Stateside UpdateDear Colleagues,
By now most of you have been briefed regarding the pending study to be conducted by the RAND Corporation regarding the status of our DDESS schools. The study is expected to be completed by early fall of 2014. The RAND Corp will be conducting focus groups (participants will be selected randomly) with staff, students, parents, and the LEA superintendents. (This latter group will be delayed until the Pentagon approves the questions.) This review is not studying [necessarily] a complete divestiture of DDESS. Recommendations could be anything along a continuum from complete divestiture to no changes at all ... and anything possible in between. Because the study is looking at only those schools in the continental United States (CONUS), our Guam schools will not be impacted by this study.
The Association has requested a copy of the questions to be used in the focus groups and we have also asked for Association leadership at all levels to be involved in those groups. Mr. Talley has committed to getting answers to our questions. This is not the first study of our DDESS schools; therefore FEA Washington is already rolling up their proverbial sleeves to provide guidance as we move forward. As in the past, we will work to educate our parents, the military leadership and also the local school system as to how our schools are equipped to serve the distinct needs of our military community and students.
Questions about "what if" or "what about" will have to wait to be answered until we have the results of the study. In the meantime you can feel confident that the Association leadership at all levels -- from the school to the NEA - will work to ensure that the Department of Defense knows what we all already know: our schools are critical to the quality of life of our students and the military community. We understand and have the depth of experience, the training, and the recognition of the unique needs of those we serve.
In the coming days, weeks and months we will provide our members with information and guidance as to how each person can support the efforts to ensure that our students and their families continue to have access to our schools and the professionals who care so deeply about them and their continued success.
In the meantime, keep doing what you all do so well …. support our students in being their very best!
FEA DIrector for DDESS