Same Old Folks at the NEA Convention

Let me introduce today’s statistic by first repeating a post from October 20, 2015:

Two years ago, NEA discovered the delegates to its convention were, on average, 51 years old. Even worse, only 10 percent of them were under 35 years of age. This led to much handwringing and vows to create outreach programs to attract and train new union leaders.

Last year, convention delegates were, on average, 49 years old and 8 percent of them were under 35. More consternation followed, along with some nice brochures.

This year, the average age of a convention delegate was 50, and a whopping 2.7 percent of the assembly were under the age of 35.

I don’t have any suggestions on how to attract young public education employees to participate in the union, but I think that whatever NEA officers have been doing the last two years, they should consider doing the opposite.

Well, in 2016 NEA really put its shoulder to the wheel, and after much outreach and recruiting of new teacher union leaders, the results were plain. At the 2016 NEA convention, the average delegate was 49.3 years old. The share of delegates under the age of 35 was again 2.7 percent.

Young teachers aren’t going to participate in union governance in any great numbers unless they feel they can affect and alter the direction of the organization. Those in charge aren’t yet willing to let them do so.