Two years ago, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)—the school system for the children of our military personnel—began requiring stateside educators represented by the Federal Education Association, an NEA affiliate, to devote 24 additional, unpaid hours per quarter to busy work that hinders their ability to prepare for instruction and attend to students.
On average, teachers already spend 17-plus hours per week outside the duty day preparing for instruction and grading assignments. In January 2020, an impartial arbitrator found DoDEA acted illegally by unilaterally implementing the additional uncompensated hours. However, DoDEA, which implemented the requirement under the guise of “professional development,” has refused to comply with the arbitrator’s ruling. Instead, DoDEA has delayed implementation by appealing the decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
Recently, DoDEA announced that in its Southeast District, the unfunded additional hours will extend the duty day by an hour twice a week. This will create additional hardships for educators who already lack time to complete their duties without sacrificing time with their own children, forgoing medical appointments, and abandoning personal commitments. Many of these educators are military spouses as well as veterans who have already sacrificed much and not be expected to further upend their private lives. They are exhausted from trying to balance their personal and workplace obligations, arrange for before- and after-care for their children, adult daycare for parents, and are stressed to the point of breaking—all of which is massively detrimental to their students’ learning and extracurricular environments.
Email your members of Congress and ask them to intervene, hold DoDEA accountable, and end these anti-labor practices.