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.

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