by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Mike Antonucci published his annual state-by-state breakdown of National Education Association membership numbers. Overall, 2019 was not a good year for the nation’s largest teacher union.
A full year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, the National Education Association saw a decline of 32,773 members from the public school workforce, according to the union’s financial reports.
The N.C. Association fo Educators (NCAE) lost a third of its active membership (32.3%) over the last five years, second only to the 53.6% drop in Nevada.
NCAE membership dropped by 4.4% between 2018 and 2019. That is surprising. The union led a Red4Ed protest in Raleigh on May 16, 2018, and many thought that the event (and the positive press that it received from state and national publications) would lead to an uptick in membership. In fact, few Red4Ed states were able to translate their activism into meaningful membership gains. Antonucci writes,
The effect of the #RedForEd movement on union membership continues to be mixed. NEA membership in Arizona and Colorado benefited greatly from increased teacher activism. But membership in Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia fell.
Antonucci found that the NCAE has 24,630 fewer members in 2019 than it did in 1994.