ATLANTA, Ga. – The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, is shrinking fast, although not quite as fast as union officials anticipated.
Meanwhile, the union is telling remaining members that it needs additional dues revenue over the next year to pay for special projects.
A membership decline of just over 200,000 since last year is significantly less than the 308,000 drop union leaders anticipated for 2013, but it’s clearly a sign that the union’s political clout and dues revenue have taken major hits.
The union’s total 2013-14 membership, measured in full-time equivalent teaching positions, is 1,685,000, down from 1,886,000 in 2010-11, according to NEA figures.
A presentation by NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle at the union’s 2013 Representative Assembly in Atlanta this week framed the loss as a less-than-expected scenario, Education Week reports.
“The NEA, its members, and its affiliates have had a very tough four years,” Pringle said in presenting the union’s 2013-14 budget.
She blamed the decline on a combination of political, economic and education reform forces, but credited members for working hard to minimize the damage.
“Last year, I said we must organize, we must organize, we must organize, because I don’t ever want to stand before a delegate assembly again and ask them to make the tough decisions they did last year,” she said, according to the news site. “And guess what? You did. All over this country, you beat back those bad pieces of legislation. You went out and got more members.”
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