NEA Membership Declines in All Categories
posted at 5:10 pm on November 5, 2012 by Mike Antonucci
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 total)
2010-11 = 2,807,332 active (3,166,761 total)
2011-12 = 2,726,045 active (3,085,999 total)
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.