Nearly a year ago, OEA kicked off the Class Size Campaign. Since then, thousands of educators have told their stories about how the disinvestment in public education is negatively impacting our students and the future of our state every day.
We haven’t just told our stories. We’ve mobilized and engaged members at unprecedented levels. Through your great work all across the state, we’ve had tens-of-thousands of commitments to do what it takes to improve our schools – including gathering signatures for a ballot measure to raise much needed revenue to support student success.
OEA is proud of what we’ve been able to do together as educators and public school advocates. The incredible work done by local leaders, our members and the Statewide Organizing Taskforce has set us on a path to be able to make real change.
We’ve said from the beginning that the Class Size Campaign is about building a path to success. We are well on our way to building this path. The OEA Board of Directors remains committed to leading the way to revenue reform that will make a real difference for our students and our schools.
The political landscape for 2014 has the potential to be ugly. Corporate interests have threatened to silence the voice of working people and middle class families, by attacking unions. This well-funded, dangerous attack would have undermined our ability to successfully build broad coalitions, cut through all the noise and get the message out about the importance of raising revenue from those who can afford it.
After considering all of the options and circumstances of where we’re at right now, the OEA Board has decided to continue to build upon our collective great work and pursue a revenue plan, but not to pursue revenue ballot initiatives in 2014.
Recently, chief petitioners for both the revenue measures and the anti-worker measures have officially withdrawn their initiatives.
To be very clear: OEA will not give up the fight for the schools Oregon students deserve.
We will continue to organize both internally and out in the community. We will maintain and strengthen the new spirit of activism in our union. We will build upon the work being done on the local level and by groups like OEA’s Statewide Organizing Taskforce.
Our members are united and standing in solidarity with each other more than ever. We’ve seen it on the picket lines in Medford. We’ve seen it throughout the negotiations in Portland. More than ever before, we know that we cannot and will not be backing down from the fight for the schools our students deserve – any place, any time.
Our voice is getting louder. Our goal is to increase the volume. And, make change happen.
OEA is making plans to implement a well-resourced plan that will generate the revenue needed to reinvest in a strong public education system—including affordable tuition — fund robust public services, create a quality and affordable health care system, and address the growing gap between the wealthy and everybody else that is holding many working families back. We will work together to build a strong coalition of partners with our members, other labor organizations and other progressive groups willing to fight with us for a better future.
Immediately, OEA will continue to look for ways to work together to improve teaching and learning conditions though:
- The TELL Oregon survey. This is a critical opportunity to ensure policy makers and voters in Oregon have the information they need to make the best possible decisions.
- 2014 Elections. This year, we have the chance to elect and support pro-public education candidates who will stand with us and our students. Click here to join OEA-PIE and help build strength and elect lawmakers who care about public education as much as we do.
- Organizing. We have an organizing plan in place with measurable outcomes that will help us get to our goal of revenue reform that ensures public schools get what they need and corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.
Rest assured, OEA will be banging the drum to help create working conditions around the state that allow you to do what you really want to do – provide a quality public education for every student.