At Least Not If We Have To Pay For It
The National Air Traffic
Controllers Association is furious after recently learning that
some children of controllers stationed in Puerto Rico and Guam will
be denied an education in English speaking schools. NATCA claims
the FAA is "blatantly ignoring clear guidance from Transportation
Secretary Norman Mineta."
NATCA says that Mineta determined a year ago that local schools
in Puerto Rico and Guam are not appropriate for the dependents of
FAA employees because the curriculum is not taught in English. The
only access to public education taught in English is through the
schools provided by the Department of Defense.
Secretary Mineta wrote that his determination was to
"permanently authorize the Federal Aviation Administration to pay
for the expenses of primary and secondary schooling for dependents
of Federal Aviation Administration personnel stationed in Puerto
Rico and Guam." However, the FAA has told the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association that they will not certify certain children
of FAA employees for school at the DOD programs for the 2005-06
"Leave it to this agency to again display its arrogance and
total disregard not only for its own employees but for the
collective bargaining process as well," NATCA President John Carr
said. "For the FAA to harm children of its employees for no reason
other than to flex its muscles should not surprise anyone but it
should outrage everyone, starting with Secretary Mineta and the
Department of Transportation Inspector General."
NATCA also claims that the FAA concealed Secretary Mineta's
decision during bargaining on the issue with NATCA. It says the FAA
also did not disclose this information to the Federal Labor
Relations Authority during the investigation of NATCA's unfair
labor practice charges that were filed over the agency's failure to
certify these children for the 2004-05 school year.
"I would hope that the FAA administrator would not want her
legacy to include the fact that she denied an education to her own
employees' children and then refused her boss' direct guidance to
rectify that woeful situation," Carr stated.
One youth who will be effected is a special needs student who
should be attending the seventh grade this fall. In the past, his
needs were fully taken care of by the certified special education
department at the local Antilles Consolidated School System, at
The FAA's refusal to certify the child has placed him in a
terrible predicament. The local school system does not offer
special education curriculum, nor does it provide specialized
instruction in English. The youth would be placed into a local
school at the fourth grade level.
NATCA says several FAA employees have told them that they did
not accept their positions in San Juan after transferring from U.S.
air traffic facilities without first investigating the education
the agency would afford their children via the English language
curriculum at Fort Buchanan. Now, those employees feel betrayed and