by Dr. Robert Luebke
Senior Fellow, Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Membership in the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) declined 2.4 percent last year. Veteran teacher union watcher, Mike Antonucci reported the figure in his annual article on National Education Association (NEA) and state affiliate membership. According to union financial reports, NCAE active membership for 2019-20 is 17,154, down from 17,580.
Active membership includes teachers, professionals and education support personnel.
Since 2015-16, NCAE active membership is down 26.9 percent. Among NEA state affiliates, only Nevada ( -57.9 percent) and Montana (-27.7 percent) had larger declines.
Overall, membership in the NEA is 2,586,207, down .3 percent over last year and down .7 percent over the past five years.
I’ve been reading Mike’s reports on NEA membership for quite some time. And, to the best of my knowledge, NCAE membership has been declining since 2011-12.
It should be noted the numbers reported include both the Red4Ed demonstrations which, were in part, a massive NCAE recruitment tool, as well as the change in NCAE leadership last year. According to the numbers, it appears neither change reversed the decline.
Considering these developments, it’s fair to ask: How widespread is NCAE membership among North Carolina teachers?
In 2019-20, North Carolina employed 93,923 full-time teachers. Even if we assume all NCAE active members are teachers – which they certainly aren’t – but do so for the sake of argument – NCAE would represent eighteen percent of public school teachers in North Carolina.