The Strategic Action Plan (SAP), approved by the OEA Representative Assembly in 2012, set a new course for OEA. The SAP presented a new path forward: a road map to building a more powerful, member-driven union. At each succeeding RA and throughout each working year, delegates and members review and assess the ongoing SAP work. Now in its final year, the plan relies on three strategic priorities, with the very specific intent to engage and empower OEA members to transform public education in Oregon. We set the following priorities:
Educator-Driven Innovation and Public Policy: Leading the Way to Great Public Schools.
OEA and its members will be recognized as the most knowledgeable and trusted voices, experts, and leaders in public education.
Building Powerful, Visionary, Member Driven Locals.
OEA members will see the OEA and their local union as a powerful vehicle to secure a better quality of life, preserve collective bargaining rights, and to establish our right to shape the future of education in our schools and across the state.
Re-shaping Politics in Oregon – From the Grassroots.
OEA members will help build and lead a movement that will re-shape politics in Oregon by contesting and winning local and statewide elective offices.
Never has this work been more important. Under the current anti-public education Administration and on the brink of another economic crisis in our state, we must be more organized and stand together more strongly than ever. It’s important we continue the work that has engaged new members, built capacity, and created a sustainable future for our union.
OEA’s Strategic Action in 2016 and 2017 can be characterized as a fulfillment of the vision, but with work left to accomplish. Two specific areas—our organizing on the Better Oregon campaign and our leadership on the Every Student Succeeds Act—have demonstrated significant areas of growth and engagement. We have also built significant capacity through our Union School by empowering our local associations and building a pipeline of leaders.
The Better Oregon Campaign and Political Organizing
In fewer than six months, OEA surpassed all previous organizing efforts, with over 5,000 OEA members working to collect more than 63,000 signatures to qualify the Better Oregon petition. This represents a level of engagement six times larger than any past effort in our organization's history. This success carried into the fall and we were able to host over 400 unique OEA volunteer campaign events with over 4,500 volunteer shifts completed by members. This represented 267,548 volunteer calls and door knocks made by our members. While the ballot measure did not pass, we did change the conversation, and proved that we can be a true powerhouse when we align our priorities and focus on making the lives of our students better.
A Better Path/ESSA
All of the work done through the Center for Great Public Schools (CGPS) presents new and interesting opportunities to develop and support member leaders’ knowledge and expertise on professional practice issues. This ensures educators have a respected voice in public policy and that members are fully engaged in the process. This year, CGPS demonstrated its crucial role in providing members with implementation strategies for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
CGPS continues to lead and influence the creation of a balanced system of assessment through policy work and the development of member leaders in quality assessment practices. Over the past two years, quality assessment cadres have been developed and are increasing the emphasis on classroom assessment practices through pilot projects and classroom action research. This work reflects the recommendations set forth in the foundational document “A New Path for Oregon” and demonstrates the deep work necessary to build and sustain Oregon’s transition to a balanced system of assessment.
OEA Union School, Powerful Locals
The OEA Union School has established a multi-faceted program, Powerful Locals, which helps local teams assess and build their capacity. To date, 33 locals have engaged the program with 7 new locals signed up to participate this year. Participants join a growing network of highly-engaged, expertly-trained leaders, and create close communication links with each other and leaders and staff at all levels of the organization.
The Union School is working to engage and grow new leaders from all corners of the organization by supporting programs such as Emerging Leaders and Leaders for Tomorrow.
The Strategic Action Plan provides a trajectory which will allow us to build on these strengths, and focus specifically on engaging new members and early career educators. We will continue to identify and train new and existing leaders and will revitalize local associations through focused leadership development and increased understanding of member needs. We will accomplish this growth by increasing engagement in local and district politics; elevating educator voice on professional practice issues like assessment and evaluation; and evolving the OEA brand to reflect a set of shared values which nurtures a sense of belonging and community.