Analysis: The NEA’s State of the Union — As Active Membership Declines by More Than 29,000, Political Spending Soars 36 Percent

National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears most Wednesdays; see the full archive.

The National Education Association had 29,198 fewer members working in America’s public schools beginning this school year than it did in 2018, according to the union’s annual financial disclosure report to the U.S. Department of Labor, filed Friday.

The bulk of the losses came in the highest dues-paying category, that of teachers, guidance counselors, speech pathologists and other certified professionals. That category now accounts for fewer than 2.1 million of the union’s 2,975,933 total members, including retirees and students. NEA is at its lowest membership level since 2015-16.

As we reported in October, the majority of the loss was due to the disaffiliation of the California Faculty Association and its 19,000 members. The national union’s overall financial status is complex. It spent $30 million more than it received in revenues in 2018-19, but it was mostly due to a combination of sales and purchases of securities. Apparently, NEA adjusted its investment portfolio during the year.

However, dues revenue was down, while spending on political activities and lobbying increased 36.5 percent. Aid to affiliates and advocacy organizations increased, as did employee benefits, while other expenditure categories held relatively steady.

NEA is still owed $8.5 million by the Indiana State Teachers Association for a loan connected to the 2009 implosion of the union’s insurance trust, $1.8 million by the Nevada State Education Association due to the loss of its Clark County affiliate and $850,000 from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

We will have more on union finances in the coming weeks.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Republish This Article

We want our stories to be shared as widely as possible — for free.

Please view The 74's republishing terms.

On The 74 Today