Our friend Mike Antonnuci at Education Intelligence Agency reports that four years after helping to propel Barack Obama to the presidency, members of the National Education Association (NEA) are suffering from a lack of enthusiasm for the current occupant of the White House.
If it seemed like the National Education Association’s advocacy for the re-election of President Obama during last month’s Representative Assembly was a bit forced and anxious, it’s probably because the union’s internal polling shows a genuine lack of enthusiasm for four more years of the current federal education and labor policy.
…the union is worried that even its activists aren’t planning on being very active .According to a recent NEA poll, Only 10 percent of the rank-and-file and 13 percent of the activists were “very likely” to join Educators for Obama, the NEA PAC volunteer group. Twenty-four percent in each group were “not likely at all” to do so. And even among those likely to join, large percentages wouldn’t talk to the media, recruit others, or volunteer for two hours a month.
GBA Strategies [firm commissioned to the do the NEA poll] came to the simple conclusion that while a significant majority of NEA members supported the re-election of the President, “they are not energized for the election.” The firm recommended more work be done to mobilize the union membership “even if it means concentrating on educating them about how bad the alternative is.”
What does all this mean for North Carolina? While North Carolina is a non-union state, every teacher who joins the North Carolina Association of Educators must also join the National Education Association (NEA). Still it will be difficult for the Obama campaign and the NEA to replicate 2008. Aside from the change in sentiment, NEA numbers are down in NC and nationally. Antonnucci reported in 2010-11 – the latest available year for state level data — NEA membership showed a decline of 41,544 (7.6 percent) the fourth highest percentage loss among states. Also, note these membership figures are for the year before passage of legislation which ended the state’s collection of NCAE membership dues via payroll deduction. While state membership numbers aren’t available yet, it’s a good bet the change will only accelerate membership decline.