// News

Cuts to educators’ benefits pass the House, move on to the Governor

Dear OEA Members,   Today the Oregon House of Representatives…

// News

Take Action on the Student Success Act

Legislature releases historic education investment proposal,…

// Events

May 8th




  • First school opened by teacher Sol H. Smith in Marion County (1833)
  • The first "public school" opened by Sydney W. Moss in Oregon City (1843)
  • Rev. George H. Atkinson, "Father of Oregon schools," prepared first public school law (1849)
  • OEA's immediate forerunner, Oregon State Educational Association, formed in Portland; Bishop Thomas Fielding Scott was elected its first president (1858)


  • Teachers reorganized in Salem as the "Oregon State Educational Association and Teachers Institute" (1861)
  • President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant Act establishing land-grant institutions to train teachers (1862)
  • Corvallis College designated Agricultural College of Oregon (later Oregon State University), the first state-supported institution of higher education (1868)
  • Oregon's first public high school opened in Portland (1869)


  • University of Oregon established (1862; classes begin 1876)
  • Legislature passed a reorganization act establishing present school law (1872)
  • Sylvester Simpson first Oregon superintendent of schools (1873)


  • Oregon’s first schools to train teachers established in Monmouth and Ashland (1882)
  • Public high schools opened in The Dalles (1882), Astoria (1888), Salem (1888), and Baker City (1889)
  • Oregon school enrollment: 49,176 students in 1,371 school districts (1885)


  • Teacher salaries in Oregon: $20 per month in poorer districts, $100 for three months in richer districts (1890)


  • Oregon school enrollment: 97,745 students in 2,094 districts (1900).
  • Oregon voters passed nation's first citizen initiatives (1904)
  • Minimum school term set at four months (1904)
  • The National Education Association incorporated (1907)


  • Average teacher salaries for men: $73.53 per month; $55.05 for women (1910)
  • The first OEA code of ethics adopted (1915)
  • Teacher certification requirements: high school plus 12 weeks of professional training (1919)
  • Oregon minimum salary law passed: $75 per month (1919)


  • NEA and the American Legion sponsored the first American Education Week (1921)
  • Compulsory education law passed (1922)
  • Certification requirements raised to high school plus 36 weeks of professional training (1925)
  • Oregon school enrollment: 180,398 in 2,372 districts (1925)
  • Average school term set: 174 days (1925)
  • OEA incorporated as a non-profit educational organization with 6,617 members (1927)


  • Public education in Oregon costs $17 million with the state contributing only about 2 percent (1933)
  • Average teacher salary: $867.15 (1935)
  • Oregon ranked 48th out of 49 states (including the District of Columbia) in percentage of school tax revenue from state sources (1937)
  • Forerunners of community colleges come into being with the formation of Eugene Technical Vocational School (1938)


  • OEA initiated first state school-support tax (1942)
  • Public employee retirement system (PERS) enacted in Oregon (1945)
  • OEA sponsored legislation that raised minimum salaries to $2,100 for women, $2,400 for men, and encouraged consolidation among rural schools to raise public school standards (1946)
  • Portland Community College and Central Oregon Community College opened (1949)
  • Oregon Fair Employment Practices Commission created (1949)


  • 10 days sick-leave granted teachers (1951)
  • Teachers eligible for Social Security (1953)
  • School districts allowed to establish own tax bases (1953)
  • Television first appeared in public school classrooms (1955)
  • 3 percent sales tax measure to support public schools defeated (1955)
  • OEA professional liability insurance coverage offered to educators (1955)
  • Certification requirements raised to four-year degree (1955)
  • Average teacher salary: $4,150, national teacher shortage nearly 150,000 (1955)


  • OEA membership: 15,000 (1960)
  • Oregon authorized the employment of teacher aides and intern teachers (1961)
  • OEA's Human Rights and Responsibilities Commission established, the first in any state association (1961)
  • Nationwide teacher shortage estimated at 121,200 (1963)
  • Congress enacted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) beginning an era of massive federal aid to education (1965)
  • Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) created allowing for peer control over teacher certification (1965)
  • Educators Assistance Fund established to provide legal service for educators (1966)
  • People for Improvement of Education (PIE), OEA's voluntary political action fund, formed (1967) www.oregoned.org/pie


  • OEA supported legalization of strikes by teachers, then prohibited by law in Oregon and most other states (1971)
  • 30-minute duty-free lunch established by law (1971)
  • Teacher salaries frozen nationwide for the 1971-72 school year by President Nixon
  • Portland closed schools 20 days early due to defeat of operating budget levy (1972)
  • Legislative changes benefited teachers: collective bargaining, self-governance in certification, fair dismissal for all teachers, 30 percent increase in retirement benefits, and coverage for teachers under state unemployment insurance (1973)
  • Oregon’s first teacher strike in Hillsboro (1973)
  • Legislature increased Basic School Support to 30 percent, granted hearings for probationary teachers, improved retirement benefits, strengthened the TSPC, and extended sick leave (1975)
  • Title IX, mandating the end of sex discrimination in all educational institutions receiving federal funds, passed by Congress (1976)
  • U.S. Department of Education elevated to cabinet level (1979)


  • The Oregon Association of Classified Employees (OACE) launched (1980)
  • Nationwide average postal worker salary: $25,000, average teacher salary: $18,162 (1983)
  • Junction City schools closed due to lack of funds (1984)
  • OEA-sponsored sales tax/property tax relief initiative failed (1986)
  • Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century passed by Legislature, but without funding the massive changes demanded in the new law (1989)


  • Schools and government services endangered by the passage of the first property tax limitation measure, Ballot Measure 5 (1990)
  • Members of Oregon Association of Classified Employees (OACE) voted full membership in OEA (1990)
  • Legislation enacted requiring all school districts to offer K-12 education by March 1, 1997 (1991)
  • Average Oregon classroom: 24 students, four of whom need special assistance (1991)
  • Talented and Gifted (TAG) programs established in Oregon schools (1992)
  • Average teacher salary: $38,880 (1993)
  • OEA Foundation established (1996)
  • State share of school funding reached 80 percent (1997)
  • Two students murdered, twenty five injured in a shooting at Springfield’s Thurston High School on May 20 (1998)


  • Oregon voters faced 18 ballot measures, seven by anti-tax activist and racketeer Bill Sizemore. OEA successfully waged campaigns to protect public education and Oregon school employees (2000)
  • OEA won civil lawsuits against organizations owned and operated by anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore and is awarded more than $2 million in damages (2002)
  • More than 2,000 public school jobs are eliminated. National media attention becomes focused on Oregon's school funding woes (2003)
  • A strong pro-education Legislature and Governor lead to record increases in pre-kindergarten, K-12, and community college funding for the 2007-09 Oregon biennium (2007)
  • Oregon school enrollment: 563,000 students in 198 districts (2007)
  • OEA member Carol Cochran named National School Nurse of the Year (2008)
  • OEA member Mike Geisen named National Teacher of the Year (2008)
  • Oregon voters agree with OEA-PIE’s recommendations in 4 of 4 statewide races, 90% of Oregon Senate races, 100% of federal races, and 79% in Oregon House races (2008)
  • Voters also agree with OEA on all 14 ballot measures, including defeat of Sizemore’s latest rounds of so-called teacher “merit pay” and paycheck deception (2008)
  • OEA members elect Gail Rasmussen OEA President, the first classified/ESP member and the first African-American to be elected to the office (2009)


  • Oregon votes for tax fairness, bucking a national trend, by electing to increase taxes during a recession via Measures 66 & 67 which shifted the tax burden back onto some corporations and individuals making more than $125,000 a year (2010)