|Back to August Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 199||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||AUGUST 2002|
NEA Membership Declines|
Will early childhood workers fill gap?
DALLAS, TX - NEA's Strategic Plan and Budget for fiscal years 2002-2004, distributed to delegates at the union's annual convention in July, projects a full-time membership increase of just 9,000 for 2003-2004. Page 39 of the booklet promises assistance from the national union to state affiliates "experiencing challenges related to membership recruitment and retention."
In its Conventional Wisdom report dated July 1, the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA) stated that last year's NEA active member increase of more than 81,000 was largely due to state affiliate mergers with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Florida and Montana. NEA membership figures published by EIA for last year (excluding student, substitute and retired members) show a decline in 22 states, from a slight decrease of 0.1% in Alabama to a more sizeable slide of 8.8% in Washington, DC and 10.5% in Mississippi.
The flattening of NEA's membership figures in recent years and the modest growth projection for next year may be an indication that the presence of organizations such as the Association of American Educators (AAE) are beginning to be felt. The AAE now has more members than the NEA affiliates in three states: Georgia, Missouri and Texas. According to AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner, the organization's chapter in Mississippi is "dead even" in membership with the NEA affiliate, and AAE is closing the gap in Louisiana. (EIA's membership figures show that the Louisiana NEA affiliate's membership was also down 5.1% last year.)
Early Childhood Push
The booklet, Advancing NEA's Legislative Program, July 2002, advocates early childhood programs and recommends the allocation of "federal resources to support early childhood education programs that are school based, school linked, or established with formal partnerships with community-based organizations."