1) NEA Membership Declines in All
Categories. The National Education Association
will spend the next 24 hours deeply immersed in the Presidential campaign,
as well as hundreds of Congressional, statehouse and ballot initiative races
across the country. But no one is predicting a wholesale change in the
political balance of power, which is what it will take for the union to
reverse the largest and most precipitous membership losses in its history.
I have reported NEA membership numbers
many times over the past 15 years, but this is the first time to my
knowledge that the union has experienced losses in all categories: active
professional, education support, higher education, students and retirees.
Here's a reminder of how NEA has fared during the Obama years:
2008-09 = 2,905,741 active members
(3,234,639 total members)
2009-10 = 2,866,063 active (3,204,185
2010-11 = 2,807,332 active (3,166,761
2011-12 = 2,726,045 active (3,085,999
The latest figures show active members
(meaning members currently working in the public school system) at about
2,711,000. Total membership, which includes students and retirees, comes in
at around 3,067,000. If current trends continue, NEA will fall below 3
million members in less than a year.
NEA has already budgeted for a
loss of more than 140,000 members this year. Nevertheless, the union is
warning its activists that additional cuts may become necessary.
The union is making plans to address its
recruiting problems, but which ones will be implemented and how will depend
a great deal on tomorrow's election results. The big campaign issue in
education isn't Race to the Top or Common Core. Just as with the broader
economy, it's jobs. NEA needs those members back. It's looking to raise
revenues, and for politicians committed to using those revenues to hire
education employees. All other issues are secondary.
2) Trick or Treat.
I provide this excerpt, without comment, from an e-mail sent
last week by California Teachers Association president Dean Vogel to CTA
activists. If any of you experienced this firsthand, I would love to hear
Halloween is coming up,
and many of us will be staying in to hand out candy to neighborhood kids.
This is a great time to also share our campaign message with their parents.
Use any of our resources in our campaign section to hand out.
3) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from October 30-November 5:
Wisconsin Approves Resolution for Merger Talks with WEAC. Can you creep
your way to national merger?
"I don't know if I want to drag our members through another election."
More fun from Fresno.
Oregon Education Association Professional Employees Reach Tentative
Agreement. Sixteen-month stalemate ends.
Appropriate. Too much, the magic bus.
The School Staffing Surge. Hiring outpaces enrollment growth. Layoffs
trail enrollment declines.
4) Quote of the Week.
"A few moments ago, I spoke about how
the district has lost about 21 percent of its K-12 enrollment in the last
eight years and about how that, as much as budget shortfalls, is driving the
annual RIF process. As you may have guessed, the largest portion of that
enrollment loss has been into non-unionized charter schools. As a former
UTLA vice president memorably stated: 'Unorganized labor anywhere is a
threat to organized labor everywhere.' Moving our jobs out of LAUSD and into
non-union charters is the educational equivalent of shipping factory jobs
"Charter teachers are
not our enemies. They are simply exploited workers: credentialed
professionals who can be fired on the spot if they don't follow orders. They
are teachers. They want to be able to advocate for their students without
fearing retribution from the boss. Most of them know that they would be
better off with union representation.
"We've already organized a lot of them. UTLA currently
represents about 1,000 teachers in independent charter schools. We already
represent more charter teachers than any other union in the country. Charter
school teachers are not our enemy. Non-unionized charter schools are. And
the sooner we unionize those workplaces, the sooner we will eliminate the
economic incentive to ship our jobs out of the district."
- United Teachers Los Angeles president Warren Fletcher. (September