FEA traces its beginnings to the mid-1950s, when a group of Department of Defense educators in Germany organized themselves to speak out against planned furloughs and cuts to the school year.

Since then, FEA has grown to become the worldwide voice of DoDEA faculty and staff. FEA advocates for employee rights and for a quality learning environment.

Here are a few highlights from FEA’s history:


1956: In reaction to plans to shorten the school year and furlough employees, teachers stationed in Germany form the Overseas Teachers Association (OTA) 

1959: OTA helps win passage of a law mandating that overseas teachers in the DoD schools be paid comparable to US educators  

1960: Following mergers with associations in the UK and Asia, OTA changes its name to the Overseas Education Association (OEA)

1974: After years of resistance by DoD, OEA wins the March Case, requiring full adherence to the salary law 

1990: OEA legal action results in a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously decided in the case the Association brought forth, Ft. Stewart Schools v. FLRA, to recognize the right of DoDEA Stateside educators to bargain pay 

1991: The OEA Board of Directors votes to recognize DoDEA Stateside (then known as Section 6, later DDESS) schools as a region of the Association and to grant them a seat on the OEA Board, alongside the Pacific and Europe

1995: In recognition of an increasing number of members from the Association’s Stateside Region and to emphasize our representation of domestic employees as well as overseas, OEA renames itself the Federal Education Association

1996: FEA achieves recognition in 1996 for all Stateside (DDESS) locals to be certified as a single, consolidated bargaining unit

Early 2000s: FEA successfully fights against the privatization of many support positions in DDESS schools

2012: FEA wins  the “Masters Plus” case, granting back pay with interest to hundreds of Overseas members never properly credited by DoDEA for graduate classes they had taken. FEA-Stateside Region later wins a case (currently on appeal from management) over similar credit for DDESS employees 

2012: An arbitrator sides with FEA, upholding the validity of the “Goodbye Grievance” and characterizing it as a “critical lifeline” for retirees and employees who have separated/transferred from FEA’s Overseas bargaining unit. The Goodbye Grievance has kept members from paying false debt claims that otherwise would have totaled at least an estimated $1 million.

2015: FEA wins the “Pay Freeze” case, resulting in members receiving back pay with interest after an illegal extension of the government’s salary freeze that impacted the Overseas bargaining unit 

2023: FEA’s Overseas members collectively bargained and approved a new contract for the Overseas bargaining unit. The updated contract, the first since 1989, increased class preparation times for elementary educators, provided duty-free lunches, clarified EDA policy, and more.

FEA continues to fight for the rights of our members, who work hard to educate the children of military families.

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