October 15, 2017 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 15, 2017
A mandatory training entitled "Safeguarding U.S. Government Information" was recently implemented throughout the federal government. As has apparently been the situation in other government agencies, DoDEA mandated the use of this training program without giving any notice to the Association or providing an opportunity to bargain over how the training was to be used. The training includes video taken from Fox News that is overtly political in nature. FEA is working with its association partners in the United DOD Workers Coalition and the Federal Workers Alliance to formulate a response.
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION SYSTEM
FEA has filed an Association Grievance over management's illegal and unilateral implementation of the "New Beginnings" performance appraisal system in DODDS schools (Management has yet to implement any change in DDESS. FEA Stateside is currently in negotiations over performance appraisals for both classified and certified employees). We will keep members informed as this issue progresses.
SUBS AND VACANCIES
Shortages in substitutes and filling other vacancies continue to be a massive problem impacting not only our members but our students and their education as well. I met recently with DoDEA HQ officials concerning the problems but they are still only able to offer excuses and not solutions. FRS's and Building Reps, please continue to work with your Admin to ensure that all available subs are being used, that Admin and ISS's are being utilized when possible, and that no hiring actions are waiting on referral lists. Please also keep your Division Reps/Country Presidents/Local Presidents informed of continuing problems.
On October 12, along with Jane Loggins, FEA Director for DDESS, Ben Hunter, DDESS General Counsel, and Heather Valentine of NEA Government Relations, I was able to visit our schools at Quantico. We spent time at both the ES, the HS and the Virtual School and were able to speak with many members during the day and at the afterschool meeting. Many thanks to those who helped facilitate this visit and to the members who took the time to speak with us.
I, along with FEA Executive Director H.T. Nguyen and Director of Communications Gary Hritz ,will be attending the FEA Stateside Area Council Meeting in Nashville October 26-28. We look forward to meeting with and hearing from all the members and local leaders who attend this meeting.
Later this month, seven of our members from across the system will attend NEA's Women's and Minority Leadership Training in Atlanta, GA. This is a great opportunity for our members to bring information to our Association and one more great benefit of our membership in NEA. We would like to thank DoDEA management for supporting this important training by granting leave for the participants.
Also, at the end of the month, two of our members will attend NEA's first Equity Summit in Chicago. NEA will bring together a diverse group of Association members who wish to help lead the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and are interested in pursuing social and racial justice within their classrooms, schools, districts, union locals, and community. This is one more example of NEA's commitment to social justice and FEA will look for more opportunities to bring more information about these important issues to our members.
One of our primary responsibilities always is keeping our students safe. Safe Schools Week is Oct 15--21, 2017. The following link has some excellent resources, including information on helping students cope with tragedy and loss as well as bullying. NEA's Bully Free schools info.
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
This year we celebrate American Education Week November 13-17. This is a great opportunity to highlight the great work our schools are doing. For more information on how to promote this celebration, go to NEA's AEW info.
DoDEA SCHOOLS HONORED
Speaking of great work, three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools have been recognized as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Killin Elementary School at Camp Foster Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan; Patch Middle School at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany; and West Point Elementary School at U.S. Army Garrison West Point in West Point, New York are among the 342 National Blue Ribbon Schools recognized. The award is based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. These three schools are excellent examples of the outstanding quality of our DoDEA schools. FEA congratulates these schools and applauds the outstanding work of their faculties and staffs.
NEA's Read Across America day isn't until March, but you can find great reading suggestions and activities each month in NEA's free Read Across American Literary Resource Calendar. Association members can request a free printed copy of the calendar by going to the Read Across America store. This is also where you can order other supplies, such as the famous Cat Hats, for your Read Across America celebration in March -- it never hurts to plan ahead and order early! Overseas educators note: when putting in your billing/shipping address, there is an option for Armed Forces Pacific or Armed Forces Europe at the bottom of the "State" drop-down list. If you want your calendar even faster and don't mind printing it out yourself, you can do so at nea.org/readacross. You'll also find loads of great reading resources and suggestions for your Read Across American events later this year.
If you need to contact me, please remember to use my NEA address, as printed in your pocket calendar, rather than using the DoDEA Outlook address from the Global Listing. DoDEA Outlook is often difficult for me to access and may cause a delay in the response to your message.