Education Intelligence Agency

Public education research, analysis and investigations

20 NEA State Affiliates Have Fewer Members Than in 1994

Written By: Mike Antonucci   – Apr• 20•15

April 20, 2015

20 NEA State Affiliates Have Fewer Members Than in 1994. In 1994 the National Education Association had 2.2 million members. In the years since, the union has increased its numbers by 800,000. During a period of time when the number of full-time equivalent classroom teachers grew by 553,000 it appears to be quite an achievement.

But a closer look at the state numbers show that NEA’s strength for the last 20 years has been concentrated in a handful of affiliates, and that mergers with American Federation of Teachers affiliates account for more than half of the union’s growth.

NEA affiliates in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Massachusetts accounted for 271,000 additional members since 1994. Mergers in Florida, Minnesota, Montana and New York added 460,000 more to the national member total on paper but little to the NEA coffers since the dues are split with AFT according to pre-merger membership numbers.

While those affiliates prospered, 20 others actually have fewer members today than they did in 1994. They are:

Arizona Education Association

Arkansas Education Association

Idaho Education Association

Indiana State Teachers Association

Iowa State Education Association

Kansas NEA

Louisiana Association of Educators

Maine Education Association

Mississippi Association of Educators

North Carolina Association of Educators

Oklahoma Education Association

South Carolina Education Association

South Dakota Education Association

Texas State Teachers Association

Utah Education Association

Virginia Education Association

West Virginia Education Association

Wisconsin Education Association Council

Wyoming Education Association

Federal Education Association

There are others that made the cut for 1994 but whose best years are behind them. The membership numbers for Tennessee are below 1996 level, Georgia and Michigan are below 1998 levels, Ohio and Oregon below 2000 levels, and if Nevada loses its education support members to the Teamsters, as is likely, it will fall below 1997 level.

NEA may rebound from recent membership losses, but it will be even more dependent than it already is on recruitment, hiring and legislation in those few states that account for its growth. Trends in the weak affiliates have gone on for so long there appears to be no prospect of reversal.

Is there a tipping point, after which the strong can no longer support the weak? It isn’t here yet, but this is not a problem that will solve itself.

Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics April 14-20:

* Finnished. Questions the education tourists fail to ask.

* The Opt-Out Movement Marches On. Unintended consequences.

* Throwback Thursday: The Tornillo Memo. A reminder from the archives about the ability to deny reality.

* The Coming Student Shortage. Smaller classes or smaller staffs?

* Union Getting Involved in Your, Uh, Unions. Mission creep.

Quote of the Week. “We believe that when people have a chance to hear these issues presented more fully they are far more likely to see the value in current due process protections and layoff procedures.” – Frank Wells, a spokesman for the California Teachers Association, reacting to a survey showing only 8 percent of respondents thought seniority was the best factor to use when considering layoffs. (April 13 Los Angeles Times)

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