NEA reports big drop in membership

July 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- The National Education Association, the largest U.S. teachers union, reports membership has dropped by 100,000 in two years.

In a report in advance of the union's annual meeting, the NEA projected a total loss of 308,000 members by 2014, down 16 percent from 2010, USA Today reported. It said revenue from dues will be down 18 percent or $65 million.

The union attributes the losses to a big demographic shift with more people teaching for a year or two after college and then switching to another career with little incentive to get involved in the union. Other factors are the push against public sector collective bargaining in Wisconsin and other states and an increase in on-line classrooms.

"Things will never go back to the way they were," the union's strategic plan for the next two years said.

But Dennis Van Roekel, the union's president, said the anti-union movement has "energized" NEA members.

"We may be a little smaller, but we won't be weaker -- we'll be stronger," he said.

President Obama is one no-show at the meeting. While Vice President Joseph Biden was scheduled to address the NEA on Tuesday, Obama, unlike recent Democratic predecessors, is skipping the event.

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