As President Obama urged the members of the National Governors Association to spend more on education and called for an increase in the number of teachers in the classroom, recent analysis shows that the number of teachers signed up with the National Education Association continues to plummet.
The latest figures show total membership below 3,079,000. This means that the membership levels are at their lowest since the 2005-06 school year – the year before the NEA affiliate in New York merged with the AFT-affiliated New York State United Teachers, writes Mike Antonucci at Hot Air.
The NEA budget back then was $300 million. However, the NEA budget is now $375 million, and as recent unprecedented staff reductions show, the NEA is struggling.
"The union is down more than 76,000 active working members compared with this time last year. Some losses in active membership are mitigated by increases in retired members," writes Antonucci.
"Retired members certainly add to NEA's strength, but they pay only $25 annually in dues, as opposed to $178 by active working teachers. Trading active teachers for retirees keeps total membership numbers up, but greatly reduces the union's bottom line."
This comes as Nick Gillespie at Reason.com writes that the K-12 education monopoly is crumbling — and he cites the country's largest, and most powerful, teachers union leaking membership as a contributing factor.
"Clearly, the NEA is still the 800-lb. gorilla when it comes to calling shots regarding teachers and education policy in most local, state, and federal legislatures around the country. But smaller numbers is a good sign in this case. Maybe rank-and-file teachers are starting to recognize that unions have largely failed to capture much of the huge increase in money streaming into schools; since 1991, per-pupil, inflation-adjusted dollars have increased by 25 percent while teacher salaries have basically kept pace with inflation. What are union dues for if not wage increases?"
With Michigan's data that shows a loss of about 13,500 working employees since 2009, Antonucci estimates that the NEA has lost 157,000 members after hitting its high-water mark in that year.