June 20, 2016
Official NEA State Affiliate Membership Numbers for 2015. The National Education Association lost an additional 12,000 active members last year, bringing the union’s total losses among working public school employees to more than 322,000 (11.1%) since membership peaked in the 2008-09 school year. That’s the equivalent of losing the entire California Teachers Association.
I have compiled the numbers in a handy table, which provides both the total and active membership for each state affiliate. Active members are employed teachers, professionals and education support workers. Total membership includes retirees, students, substitutes and all others. Along with the numbers are the one-year and five-year changes in those figures.
For quick reference you can refer to this chart as I detail the exact numbers. (Click on chart for better viewing.)
It was a good year in terms of raw numbers for California, Florida, New York and Washington, who combined to add almost 16,000 members to NEA’s rolls – although half the dues from those new Florida and New York members goes to AFT. But no affiliate matched the percentage increase of Vermont NEA, whose active membership jumped more than 10 percent. The spike in teacher hiring last year might help explain why school district consolidation is such a big issue in the state this year.
Much of that gain was offset by losses in just one state – Alabama. Placed under NEA trusteeship last year, the Alabama Education Association lost almost 10,000 teachers and support employees – about 16 percent of its active membership. Michigan and Wisconsin were the next biggest losers in raw numbers. The Michigan Education Association’s membership fell by more than 7,200, and the Wisconsin Education Association Council lost almost 5,100 more members, bringing its losses since 2010 to more than 58 percent. Pennsylvania was a surprise addition to the loser list, declining by more than 1,800 members.
Among NEA’s weak affiliates Arizona, Mississippi and South Carolina managed to stop the bleeding, but the numbers in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia continued to head south – so to speak – at an alarming rate. All told, 28 state affiliates lost active members in 2015.
And because I love to say I told you so, you might remember that I made a bit of a kerfuffle last year about an item in Politico headlined “NEA’s Membership Uptick” when the union claimed to have added more than 14,000 new members in 2015, crediting the hike to its strong recruitment efforts. “It doesn’t just happen,” said NEA’s senior director for organizing, Jim Testerman.
Well, for once I have to agree. It didn’t just happen. It didn’t happen.
Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics June 14-20:
* NEA PAC Hopes to Raise $185 Per Delegate. It’s not the amount; it’s the attendance.
* School Support Workers Bounce SEIU, Join Independent Local. High dues a factor.
* Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Finances. Wad shot.
* Wyoming Education Association’s Finances. Stable.
Quote of the Week. “Education reform in the United States has already involved billions of dollars, countless education conferences, an unprecedented amount of literature, and legislative action in each of the 50 states. Yet it is just getting started. Reform efforts so far vary widely from state to state and range from teacher competency tests, to curriculum tightening, to merit pay and career ladders for teachers — naming a few. Many teachers say the proposed reforms to raise salaries and improve working conditions are too little, too late. Yet there are some new signs that the recent surge of attention paid to schooling in America has slowly created a climate in which teaching is being viewed as a more respected, desirable profession — both for current and prospective teachers. If sustained, this shift would reverse an embittering trend that has persisted for 15 to 20 years.” – from the Christian Science Monitor of September 3, 1985.