November 2011 FEA Stateside Update

Conference Attendance: Article 19, Section 2 a. states "The Agency shall consider all requests for attendance at educational classes, professional conferences, seminars, workshops, conventions, and professional in-service training sessions for individual development which benefit the Agency." If you are interested in attending such a conference, submit a request in writing to your administrator, to include pertinent information and why attendance would enhance your current assignment.

K-3 Reading Assessment: Now that the training is completed and teachers have used the new assessment, it is important for teachers to let us know, through your local Association leader ‘how it went'. The MOU was signed for this year's use only and will be re-visited in the spring. We need your feedback!

Lesson Plans: During recent discussions with Dr. Curtis, I once again emphasized the importance to recognize that lesson plans are to guide a teacher's instruction, not a paperwork activity as some piece of evidence for an administrator. Reasonableness would indicate that teacher plans could be located on the teacher's desk for review by the supervisor. I have asked Dr. Curtis to review this suggestion. If you feel that lesson plan requirements are interfering with time better spent teaching, please let your local Association leader know.

CSI: Requirements for additional work under the guise as a requisite for a school to be successful in meeting the standards of AdvEd accreditation continues to be a problem. Schools always seek to improve, but meaningless tasks and paperwork are not the way to do so. Some administrators [wrongly] believe if the faculty and staff ‘decide' something is a good idea there is no obligation to review with the Association to determine if the new idea triggers our right to bargain. Teacher committees may propose great suggestions; however it is the administrator who must decide if the suggestion is one that they can and will support. Meaningful professional development, with input from the faculty and staff, is what educators need. Be aware of tasks and mandatory ‘to dos' assigned during grade level meetings. Let your local Association leader know if there is a new assignment of work or a new ‘thing to do'.

First Grade in a Box: Decisions are being discussed at the local level with the local Association president as to the timing and planning of the delivery of these materials. Because this ‘buy' is not driven by the contractor, the decision allows for local autonomy for when the furniture and supplies can be delivered.
E-Reader Pilot: Three teachers (from Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell) had their proposals selected for the pilot. The local Association presidents are reviewing with them to ensure a successful outcome. Congratulations to those teachers!

Laptop Pilot: Another pilot is expected to get underway in February at Ft. Knox HS and Faith MS (Ft. Benning) with the plan being that each student and teacher will receive a laptop. It is our understanding that bandwidth concerns will be resolved in time for the start of the pilot. More information will be going to those sites as the time nears.

Mediations: We met at Peachtree City (PTC) at the end of October in an attempt to resolve outstanding grievances, some reaching as far back as school year 99-00. Although we did not get a signed agreement, we are still working to come to a resolution of many grievances.

I&I Bargaining: After the mediation session we remained in PTC for impact and implementation (I&I) bargaining. Despite having a mediator from FMCS, the Agency was unwilling to accept language on our proposed MOU for the banking of hours in the SC/Ft. Stewart district. We are now at impasse on that issue. We also were not able to reach an agreement on the change to the new TDY travel guidelines. Be sure if you are scheduled to go TDY that you get a copy of the DDESS guidelines.

Hot off the Press! By a nearly 2-1 margin, Ohio voters repealed a new law that would have severely limited the bargaining rights of more than 350,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state employees.