NEA loses members, dues

With membership — and dues — falling, the National Education Association is trying to reinvent itself, reports Ed Week.

Since 2010, the teachers’ union estimates, the NEA has lost the equivalent of 100,000 full-time members, bringing its overall numbers to approximately 3 million educators. By the end of its 2013-14 budget cycle, the union expects it will have lost 308,000 full-time members and experienced a decline in dues revenue projected at some $65 million in all.

“The public-sector unions are in panic mode,” said John I. Wilson, a former NEA executive director. They need to ” make new friends to move an education agenda that is of service to the country.”

Teachers’ unions donate to a broad range of groups, reports the Wall Street Journal.

What do the American Ireland Fund, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network have in common?

All have received some of the more than $330 million that America’s two largest teachers unions spent in the past five years on outside causes, political campaigns, lobbying and issue education.

. . . The two unions typically give to advocacy groups that have been involved in various civil-rights struggles and that they think will turn out at the polls. Donations went to the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Italian American Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil-rights group and the World Outgames, a sporting event hosted by the gay community.

A gift of $7,250 from the AFT to the Bnai Zion Foundation in 2011 went to support a school for abused children in Israel. A $10,000 gift to a Palestinian educator in 2007 went to teachers in the Palestinian territories whose salaries hadn’t been paid in months, the AFT said.

Some union members have protested the use of their dues to fund gay rights and abortion rights groups.

About Joanne


  1. California is the worst because even if a teacher is vehemently opposed to the political meddling of the California Teachers’ Association in causes that have nothing to do with education, they are still forced to have money taken out of their paychecks and given to the union. It’s called an “agency fee”.

  2. When I get calls from the OEA or the NEA for polls, etc. they never want to hear my opinion when I start out telling them that they DO NOT speak for me. They have had over $20,000 of my money over the years- no choice in the matter- and almost everything they donate to is against everything I believe in. I have not had even one benefit from those associations.

  3. Uhmm …. focus on collective bargaining and not all the lobbying related to issues that have nothing to do with education.

    And don’t pay the NEA president $600K a year.

    That might help.

    • SuperSub says:

      My wife’s a pharmacist and is both part of a state level union and a national level professional organization that actively lobbies issues pertinent to pharmacists. Despite teaching in NY, which has one of the highest average teacher salaries, she makes more than double what I do.

      My point? Her total dues for both organizations is significantly less than mine. The two differences are administrative costs and political activism.

  4. “panic mode”.

    There’s a phrase I never thought I’d read in reference to government unions losing members yet here we are.

    Chalk another one up for the cockeyed optimists of the world.