If the strength of the National Education Association is in its members, then the nation's largest labor union is clearly not as strong as it once was, writes Mike Antonucci at HotAir.com.
Figures recently released show that since the 2009-10 school year the NEA has lost 100,00 active members. Active members are working teachers, certified staff and education support employees – students or retirees don't count.
Officially released numbers from 2009-10 showed total active membership at more than 2,866,000. The union's active membership at the start of the 2011-12 school year stands at just over 2,766,000 – a decrease of about 3.5 percent.
The reductions will require some interim cost-cutting measures at NEA headquarters until permanent budget adjustments can be implemented next month, writes Antonucci.
"It bears noting, however, that these measures have no effect on the national union's Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises Fund, which is a segregated account for political action at the state level."
This comes as Nick Gillespie at Reason.com writes that 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?"
Six school districts now have more than 30 percent of their public school students enrolled in public charter schools: New Orleans, Washington D.C., Detroit, Kansas City (Missouri), Flint, MI, and Gary, IN. Approximately 70 percent of public school students in New Orleans attended public charter schools in the 2010-2011 school year.
Los Angeles again tops the list of districts with the highest number of public charter school students enrolled with 79,385 students.
Nearly 100 school districts now have at least 10 percent of public school students in charter schools.