Building State Affiliate Capacity
The landscape of public education continues to change, with significant changes in the composition of the educator workforce and student demographics and a dynamic, global world that requires today’s students to master 21st century skills. As the landscape shifts, so do the needs of the educators that NEA serves. This initiative, launched in the fall of 2013, was designed to test whether state affiliate influence and relevance to both its members and the broader educational community increases by expanding services and building skills in support of the professional needs of educators and their students.
Organizing for Change II: Moving Toward Organization Transformation from the NEA Foundation's Building State Affiliate Capacity Initiative provides state leaders committed to the important work of organizational transformation a road map of how to get started—and what to expect as efforts intensify. No two affiliates or the needs of their members are alike, so its focus is deliberately open-ended. It emphasizes a framework through which affiliate leaders can assess and begin efforts to transform their organizations to better serve professional advocacy, in whatever form those leaders determine is the best for their members, schools, and students.
Organizing for Change: A Road Map for Organizational Transformation and Lessons Learned describes how state affiliates can play a critical role in supporting the union's engagement in professional advocacy. Mounting evidence shows that support on issues of teaching and learning is exactly what educators want and need from their unions. That’s why, for the past several years, the NEA Foundation has helped four state affiliates bring about transformational change in expanding professional advocacy.
Strategic NEA State Affiliates
Four NEA state affiliates— Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, and Utah— comprise the cohort. These states have sought to expand their mission and role in a variety of ways. They have engaged in extensive assessment of educator needs, designed and implemented new strategic plans, reimagined the roles and responsibilities of headquarters and field staff, designed online professional development tools and found other new ways to support and engage educators across their states.
The NEA Foundation and its team of consultants and staff supported their transformation work in the following ways:
- Support from an organizational development and change consultancy, resulting in a preliminary organizational assessment of the affiliate, including but not limited to its structure, human capital and service delivery models. The assessment identified areas of strength and challenge, and prioritize recommendations for how to improve.
- Coaching and consulting support to author an implementation plan for a sub-set of the organizational recommendations – and grant funding to execute it.
- Grant funding and technical support for the state affiliate to support local work on teaching and learning issues, in ways appropriate for each state’s policy context and environment.
- A learning community of like-minded state leaders. The Foundation designed and developed meetings for state affiliate leaders to hear new voices and share new knowledge around issues of organization transformation and capacity-building in education, discuss commonly-held areas of interest and challenge, and create space for leaders to work together on their own organization’s transformation.
The NEA Foundation is not currently accepting new state affiliate opportunities. Should there be future opportunities, we will advise state affiliate leadership.