National Education Association

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National Education Association
National Education Association logo.jpg
President:Dennis Van Roekel
Vice-president:Lily Eskelsen Garcia
Year created:1857
The National Education Association (NEA) is the voice of education professionals. The vision of the NEA is a great public school for every student. The mission statement is, "to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world."[1]


NEA was founded in 1857 by one hundred educators. In 1966 it merged with the American Teachers Association. Since that time, its membership has increased to over 3.2 million.[2]

Mission Statement

The stated mission of the National Education Association is "to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world",[3] as well as concerning itself with the wage and working condition issues common to other labor unions.

The NEA is a volunteer-based organization that relies upon its members to perform much of the Association's work. In turn, the members are supported by a network of staff at the local, state, and national levels. The stated goal of NEA's work is encapsulated in its tagline: "building great public schools for every child."[4]

At the local level, affiliates perform a variety of activities (as determined by the local members), which may range from raising funds for scholarship programs to conducting professional workshops on issues that affect faculty and school support staff to bargaining contracts for school district employees.[5]

The activities of NEA state affiliates are equally wide-ranging. State affiliates regularly lobby state legislators for funding and other resources; they seek to influence education policy and they campaign for higher professional standards for educators and support professionals. The extent to which the NEA and its state and local affiliates engage in political activities, especially during election cycles has, however, been a source of controversy.[6]

At the national level, the NEA lobbies the United States Congress and federal agencies on behalf of its members and public schools, works with other education organizations and friends of public education, provides training and assistance to its affiliates, and generally conducts activities consistent with the policies set by its elected governing bodies.[5]


NEA is governed by a nine-member executive committee and a board of directors. The current president is Dennis Van Roekel, and the vice president is Lily Eskelsen Garcia.[7]


NEA lists the following issues as its current focus:[8]

For a complete list of detailed issues, click here.

2014 elections

As of November 2013, NEA has spent $1,646,370 in the 2014 election cycle: $310,370 went to Democratic candidates, $55,500 to Republicans and the remaining $1,280,000 was soft money given to political organizations.[9]

2012 elections

NEA spent $14,899,964 in the 2012 election cycle: $2,260,847 on Democratic candidates, $177,707 on Republicans, and $12,486,260 as soft money given to political organizations.[9]


The following table displays the top 10 candidates who received the most money from NEA.[10]

Top 10 largest National Education Association expenditures in 2012[9]
Candidate Party State Office Total Desired Result
Barack Obama Democratic Party N/A President $61,577
Kathleen Hochul Democratic Party NY House $19,000
Tammy Baldwin Democratic Party WI House $17,080
Derek Kilmer Democratic Party WA House $16,000
Christopher Donovan Democratic Party CT House $15,000
Elizabeth Esty Democratic Party CT House $15,000
Pete Gallego Democratic Party TX House $15,000
Chris Murphy Democratic Party CT House $15,000
Elizabeth Warren Democratic Party MA Senate $14,550
Ron Barber Democratic Party AZ House $14,250

Donations to ballot campaigns









NEA's 3.2 million members are served by 14,000 local affiliates (including some 800 higher education affiliates), 51 state-level affiliates (50 state associations and the Federal Education Association), and roughly 555 staff members working at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in regional offices.[11]

In 2006, the NEA and the AFL-CIO also announced that, for the first time, stand-alone NEA locals as well as those that had merged with the AFT would be allowed to join state and local labor federations affiliated with the AFL-CIO.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag According to the NEA's website yearly membership dies are $300.[12]

Federal law prohibits unions from using dues money or other assets to contribute to or otherwise assist federal candidates or political parties, in accordance with their tax-exempt status. The "NEA Fund for Children and Public Education" is a special fund for voluntary contributions from NEA members which can legally be used to assist candidates and political parties. Critics have repeatedly questioned the NEA's actual compliance with such laws, and a number of legal actions focusing on the union's use of money and union personnel in partisan contexts have ensued.


Substantial criticism has been leveled against the NEA and other teachers unions for allegedly putting the interests of teachers ahead of students and for consistently opposing reforms that critics claim would help students but harm union interests.[13] The NEA has supported class size reductions and across-the-board salary increases for teachers: two measures that increase the number and compensation of NEA teachers. On the other hand, the NEA has often opposed measures such as merit pay, school vouchers, reforms to teacher tenure, curriculum reform, the No Child Left Behind Act, and many accountability reforms. In a 1999 interview, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said that "ever since the judges have gotten heavily into education, and the National Education Association has gotten into control of that "Department of Education", test scores go down, there’s violence in classroom, things are going wrong." Also criticized is the NEA's alleged "goal of changing public opinion on homosexuality, starting with the youngest generation,"[26] according to a former chairman of the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus.[14][15]

What with the recent scrutiny placed on teacher misconduct, regarding specifically sexual abuse, the NEA has been criticized for its failure to crack down on abusive teachers. From an AP invesigation, Reg Weaver commented, "Students must be protected from sexual predators and abuse, and teachers must be protected from false accusations." He then refused to be interviewed. The AP reported that much of the resistance to report the problem comes from "where fellow teachers look away," and "School administrators make behind-the-scenes deals.[16]

Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, has criticized the NEA and other teacher unions for its lack of support for voucher programs, merit pay, and the removal of bad teachers. On February 17,2007 at an education reform conference in Texas, Jobs said, "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn’t get rid of people that they thought weren’t any good?”[17]

NEA has come under fire for taking advantage of laws in some states that compel, under certain conditions, membership in the association. In a case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court ("Davenport v. Washington Education Association)" on behalf of 4,000 Washington State teachers who are not NEA members but are nonetheless forced to pay NEA dues, the Court partially addressed the issue of collection and use of dues by unions such as the NEA.

The NEA is strongly against the Tax Payer Bill of Rights, and proudly displays this on their website. According to the NEA, TABOR's are a threat to them receiving additional growth in public funds.[18]


A July 4, 2014 vote by members of the National Education Association called for Education Department Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation. A majority of the 9,000 delegates attending the convention in Denver, Colorado made the vote because "the Department's failed education agenda focused on more high-stakes testing, grading and pitting public school students against each other based on test scores." The vote originated from the California Teachers Association after Duncan commented on the court case Vergara v. California, which dealt a blow to tenure rules in the state. Motions calling for Duncan's resignation have been raised at each of the NEA's annual meetings since 2010, but none had received the majority vote for passage.[19] Then-NEA President Dennis Van Roekel defended the vote, claiming the union would continue to push the administration to put forward policies "that are influenced by those who know best— educators working in our classrooms and in our schools — rather than profiteers." When asked to for Duncan's comments on the vote, a department spokesperson stated, "Secretary Duncan looks forward to continuing to work with NEA and its new leadership."[20]

The American Federation of Teachers approved a motion on July 13, 2014, urging Duncan's resignation if he did not make improvements.[21]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "National + Education + Association"

All stories may not be relevant to this organization due to the nature of the search engine.

National Education Association News Feed

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External links