ODE Brief history and present status
In late 1960’s NEA (The National Education Association) reconstituted itself to make it a more democratic and political involved professional organization. Three new constructs met with opposition from DeKalb County School System which was tightly controlled by the administration. The tight control extended to the local NEA affiliate (DEA/DeKalb Education Association).
The three changes in NEA governance were:
Teachers were now direct members of NEA giving them equal votes with administrators.
The association was to be completely unified in that all members now belonged to a unified i.e. a local, the state, and the national association.
The third change was that only one association could serve the same population. This would require the merging of the two statewide associations in Georgia that were affiliated with NEA.
DEA voted to disassociate from NEA. Around 400 educators appealed to NEA asking for assistance in re-uniting with NEA. After several years of working with the NEA team the Organization of DeKalb Educators (ODE) became official in 1974. (DEA became defunct after years of having a low profile existence).
ODE from its beginning has been known for its involvement in politics concerning issues of education and educators. It has also been involved in many types of outreach. This was despite years of stagnant membership numbers when potential members feared retaliation for belonging. Even so the group persevered and in the early 1990’s began to grow. Once again NEA field workers came and assisted with advice and money to fund a fulltime released from classroom president. Now our membership is in the thousands and ODE is the largest local in GAE.
ODE was awarded the 2010 NEA-Human and Civil Rights Award. It has received a number of grants from different sources, including a total of $20,000 that was used to fund projects developing relationships between the Family, School, and Community. Presently ODE is funding each year projects in the schools that develop a working relationship of the school with its community. Additionally, we sponsor the Reading Bowl and the Spelling Bee and provide many opportunities for professional growth. It is part of legal network that includes advisory service at the local level and legal defense if needed through GAE.