May 1 2016 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members and Leaders Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: May 1, 2016
DODDS SALARY SCHEDULES
If you have not seen the new salary schedules for DODDS, they are posted on the FEA website. Because of FEA's victory in the March Case, DODDS employees receive a retroactive pay adjustment each spring to bring their actual pay for the current school year up to date with what they would have been paid, had the correct salary figures been available back in August 2015. DODDS members should look for that retro pay in one of their upcoming paychecks.
The latest edition of the FEA Journal should be arriving by mail at your home address. This edition continues to highlight FEA's 60 years of advocacy for our members and our students. There is also information about this summer's annual meeting and the NEA Representative Assembly which are being held in Washington DC. The annual meeting is open to any FEA Active or Retired member. If you have not yet signed up to get electronic Updates from our office, use your membership number listed on the address section of your Journal to log in and sign up at this page.
GREEN RIBBON SCHOOLS
Once again, several of our outstanding schools have been singled out for recognition. Three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools are among the schools named as the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program. The three DoDEA Schools are: Kimberly Hampton Primary School, Fort Bragg, NC; Van Voorhis Elementary School, Fort Knox, KY; and Garmisch Elementary/Middle School, Garmisch, Germany. The schools were named by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. and Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss. This is a great honor and these schools are to be congratulated!
NEA FOUNDATION AWARD
Congratulations to Laura Hastings, a K-5 Math Instructional Support teacher and Local Association President at Camp Lejeune, for being selected as FEA's official nominee for the 2017 NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. We had a number of great candidates to select from this year and we are very proud to put Laura's name forth to the NEA Foundation for consideration. Thank you to all those who submitted application materials this year!
Recently, I visited schools in Ft. Benning and attended the Stateside Area Council meeting. It was great to get a chance to speak with our FEA-SR members in Ft. Benning. NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman joined us for the school visits and addressed members in an afterschool meeting. He also spoke to the Stateside Area Council leaders. Earl's remarks were touching, thoughtful, and very funny! It was a pleasure for our members and leaders to have a chance to hear him. Many thanks to the FEA Director for DDESS Jane Loggins, as well local leaders and members at Ft. Benning, and to the Stateside Area Council for such a great visit.
As this Update goes out, I will be headed to the UK to visit with members in the Lakenheath complex for a few days. From there I will head to the Pacific where I will be visiting schools and attending local meetings as well as the Pacific Area Council meeting. While I am on the road, please excuse delays in my responses to your emails!
DoDEA likes to say we are a data driven organization. Unfortunately, DoDEA only seems to pay attention to data that confirms decisions that are already made, ignoring any contrary data. So here is some interesting data: The Partnership for Public Service has just released its annual "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" Survey. DoDEA currently ranks 261 out of 320, down from last year and in the bottom quartile. See the rankings here.
I was sadly NOT surprised. The current FEVS survey, which is the basis for these rankings, is now open. If you are selected to participate, please take the time to express YOUR views….your voice should be heard. Let's see if DoDEA will use this data to make changes and improvements.
In one of the most blatant examples of disregard for teachers' experience and knowledge I have ever seen, DoDEA HQ has now decided that some teachers who have been teaching courses like Phys Apps and Chem Apps for YEARS are no longer qualified to teach the course. This is once again an example of decisions made thousands of miles away from any school or classroom, by people who have never taught, who do not know the course or course contents, and do not understand the impact of their decisions.
This is the time of year when many FEA locals provide scholarships to outstanding students from their schools. From raising the funds, to reviewing and rating the applications, this process is a lot of work for our locals, but members do it all in order to support students. If your local is providing scholarships in your community, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. More importantly, make sure your community knows about your support of students. Be sure to inform the local community newspapers, etc. Make your good works known!
If you are planning to leave the FEA (Overseas) Bargaining Unit at the end of this year, either by retiring or resigning or because you are moving to DDEESS or you have been transferred to the Med District, be sure to file a "Goodbye Grievance" early enough so that you will have enough time to elevate it before your last day of duty. This grievance was developed by FEA UniServ Bill Freeman in order to allow FEA to represent the members after they retire or resign and to ensure their rights under the Debt Collection Act and the Negotiated Agreement. We have heard far too many stories of retirees receiving erroneous debt letters. Ask your FRS for a copy of the forms for the Goodbye Grievance as well as the Request to Elevate.
ACTIVATE PRE-RETIRED MEMBERSHIP
If you have an NEA/FEA pre-retired membership and are retiring at the end of this school year, please contact Nereyda Jones-Luciano in our Washington office (email@example.com) to convert your pre-retired membership status to retired membership. We won't know you retired if you don't tell us! If you have not yet signed up for retired or pre-retired membership, you can do so by going to this page.
PUBLIC SERVICE RECOGNITION WEEK
Last week, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation in recognition of Public Service Recognition Week, 2016, which takes place May 1-7. The Proclamation can be found on the White House website at this site.
TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK
May 1-7 is designated as National Teacher Appreciation Week. As I have been traveling around lately, I have been reminding members that "We Teach the Children." DoDEA's long history of achievement is because of the work educators do with students in our schools every day…not because of what is done in offices far removed from schools. FEA appreciates teachers (and all education employees!) every day of the year, but it is nice to have this special week set aside to honor them. Additionally, there are two specific days upcoming -- National Teacher Appreciation Day on May 3 and National School Nurses Day on May 11 -- that recognize the special contributions of two specific professions. Congratulations and thank you to all of our teachers, school nurses and all education employees who do an incredible job for students every day of the year!