NEA Representative Assembly 2015: Compared to What, When?

I haven’t even gotten to the hall yet and already I’m looking askance at something. As expected, NEA announced an increase in membership. Good news for them.

Politico reported the union went from “2,956,532 members in 2013-14 to 2,970,886 in 2014-15 as of mid-June.”

That’s an increase, no doubt about it. Except that last year, at exactly this time, NEA reported a total of 2,974,042 members. Here’s a photo of the slide used to illustrate.


I’m sorry the headings were cut off, but there were 2,622,214 active members, 51,951 student members, and 299,877 retired members, for a total of 2,974,042. This year’s numbers would then mean a small loss.

My guess is that the 2013-14 number NEA used for comparison came from the end of the summer of 2014. The summer months, naturally, are when teachers’ unions experience their largest losses, as the end of the school year is when most education employees retire or move on.

The breakdown by state isn’t available, and making sense of the numbers is more problematic than it ought to be, but it’s also possible that in a couple of years these membership numbers will look like the glory days.