See How Much Teacher Union Membership In Your State Is Falling
posted at 4:14 pm on July 18, 2013 by Mike Antonucci
Despite some suspicion that I’m making up this stuff as I go along, the National Education Association was kind enough to confirm that the 2012 membership report I recently published for each of its state affiliates indeed “reflects accurate membership numbers.”
I have compiled those numbers in a handy table, which provides both the total and active membership for each state affiliate. Active members are employed teachers, professionals and education support workers. Total membership includes retirees, students, substitutes and all others.
Along with the numbers are the changes in those figures since 2011 and 2009, when NEA reached its membership high-water mark. In the last three years, NEA lost almost 7 percent of its active members and only six affiliates had more active members in 2012 than in 2009.
The biggest losers over that period were Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin, all of whom lost more than a fifth of their active members. The Arizona Education Association is barely more than half the size it was in 2009.
Other affiliates that experienced double-digit percentage active membership loss over those three years were Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, DC and the Utah School Employees Association.
The union’s largest affiliates managed to keep their losses in the 5-8% range, but the gap between the haves and have-nots among NEA state affiliates grew steadily. We also know that membership again fell nationally in 2013, albeit at a reduced rate, and the dark clouds remain for the coming school year. Michigan and Wisconsin numbers will continue to drop as collective bargaining agreements expire, and the 3,000 members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will come off the books.
Some affiliates are no longer viable as independent entities, but much of NEA’s reputation hinges on its having an affiliate in each state. The chances of the national union allowing one to fold are nil. Since even in the fat years NEA wasn’t increasing its market share of the public education workforce, the only way the current situation will turn around is through massive hiring increases by school districts, particularly in the mandatory collective bargaining states. Whether that will happen is the shape of political battles to come.