The Fairfax Education Association strenuously objects to the recent substitute survey that was sent out by Fairfax County Public Schools and calls on FCPS to scrap it and listen to the FEA.
If FCPS is interested in getting feedback from their employees on this issue, they should have listened to the data, input, and recommendations we gathered from FEA membership through our Substitute Survey. The survey results were delivered to FCPS administration in early 2017. They should have listened to us when we advocated against cutting pay for retired substitutes since June 2016. They should have listened to us during the panel this year when we offered solutions that did not involve taking away employee choices on when they use their earned leave.
Here are some of the recommendations that we made last year to FCPS:
- Restore retiree pay rate and increase pay rate for all substitutes
- Improve substitute quality by ensuring all have requisite language skills, classroom management skills, and training to follow lesson plans
- Ability to give feedback on substitutes
- Reduce the number of regional and county-based school days used for training
- Prevent substitutes from hopping to another job after accepting one
- Pay anyone that is covering a class (like an IA pulled from a class or a teacher on their planning period)
- Give a financial incentive to not use sick leave at the end of a career or the ability to make a leave bank for employees in need.
Earlier this year, FEA took part in a substitute panel where some of the options in the survey were discussed. We believed that we would have been able to see the survey before it was released so we could offer suggestions on the questions because we had already done this work over a year ago. The first time we saw this survey was when it was released. This is poor planning and partnership on the part of FCPS.
The survey also includes two questions (7 and 8) that are false choices and does not give the respondent a way to say that none of the options are a good idea. It took FEA years to fight for your rights to have more personal days. You should be offended that FCPS wants to restrict rights that you fought so long to attain.
The FEA calls upon employees to not take the survey and instead email Sean McDonald, FCPS Director of Talent Acquisition Management, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask him to work with FEA to follow the recommendations of the FEA Substitute Survey and to work with your employee organizations to continue to find creative solutions to this and other problems in the future.