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September 15 2017 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: September 15, 2017

PRESIDENT'S TRAVEL

As this Update goes out, I will be nearing the end of the European portion of my fall travel and heading to the Pacific for trainings there. Please be patient if you have not had a response to your email as it is sometimes difficult to keep up with email while traveling.

As I speak with educators in the field, I continue to hear many of the same concerns we have heard for far too long: unfilled staff positions, lack of HR support, poor Professional Development, pay issues and IT problems. For many schools it has been a difficult start, particularly with staffing and IT issues. The shortage of paraprofessionals in some schools is critical. Our neediest students are not receiving the support they need in order to succeed and, while schools do what they can to cover, the shortage remains. Further, IT issues continue to plague teachers and students every day with "help tickets" taking weeks to be resolved. This means students do not have access to the technology they need for their education. FEA will continue to raise these issues to DoDEA and will push for solutions. Our students deserve better.

On a brighter note, educators I meet across the system are still determined to do the best every day for their students. I continue to see active, engaged students and caring, dedicated educators at work in our schools. And speaking of schools, I was recently fortunate enough to attend the opening ceremony for the new Wiesbaden HS. After years of construction, it was exciting to see the beautiful new space for students and educators to work and learn.


MANDATORY TRAININGS

Since FEA agreed to the early release day for mandated online trainings, the list has grown considerably. It is now clear from management's own calculations that the early release day is not sufficient time to complete these trainings. For the last several years FEA has proposed that, in lieu of the early release day, employees complete the trainings on their own time and be paid a stipend equivalent to their daily rate for the time required. So far, management has not been willing to agree to our proposal. We will continue to pursue this proposal.


LLI

Once again, DoDEA has increased the demands on some of our teachers without allowing time for the additional tasks. LLI teachers at our ES's have been tasked with additional data entry requirements, but are not being given sufficient time to complete these tasks. In spite of repeated conversations with DoDEA about this issue, they have implemented the new requirements over our objections. As a result, FEA has filed an Association Grievance over this additional work. More information for those teachers will follow.


HURRICANE IRMA

The devastation from Hurricane Irma this past week was felt at several FEA locals, including Guantanamo Bay, Laurel Bay and Fort Stewart. Classes have now resumed at all those locations but the damage for those areas, and many parts of Florida and the southeastern U.S., will take quite a while to fully come to grips with. In addition to charities such as the Red Cross, United Way and various local food banks you may wish to contribute to, you may also consider donating to the relief funds NEA has created for victims of hurricane Irma as well as hurricane Harvey, that hit Texas a few weeks ago. You can find information on those relief funds and other resources you can use to help by going to this site.


COMPLIMENTARY LIFE INSURANCE

Did you know that your membership in the Association automatically provides you with a complimentary life insurance policy at no extra cost? Learn more about the coverage provided to you and name one or more beneficiaries for your policy by going to NEA Member Benefits' site. While at the NEA Member Benefits site, be sure to check out the dozens of other savings, financial and other benefits programs available to you as an Association member.


edCOMMUNITIES

Another fantastic tool available to you is NEA's edCommunities site at www.mynea360.org. You can join various groups focusing on education issues, or start a group of your own. It's free and open to everyone!