So we finally have official confirmation: the NJEA’s membership is in fact below the 200,000 it advertises on its website. NJEA President (and Montclair mayor) Sean Spiller testified to the legislature that the NJEA’s current membership was “nearly 200,000 active and retired members.”
Sunlight can provide only a rough estimate of current membership levels because the NJEA no longer provides a breakdown of its active and retired members. We can look at the NJEA’s dues revenues from 2017-18 to 2020-21 (the latest available) and compare them to the amount that teachers’ annual dues have increased during that time. As the table below shows, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, dues revenues increased 6.73% while annual dues increased 10.48%, which implies a membership decline of -3.75%.
If we then take the -3.75% decline against a 2017-18 membership level of 202,262, which comes from a compilation by the NJEA’s parent, the National Education Association (via the Education Intelligence Agency), this implies in an estimated decline of 7,585 members, or a current membership of 194,677.
Again, this is a rough estimate, as some formerly active members surely retired and retired members pay about 1/10th of the dues that active members do, which would also lead to a decline in dues revenues. So perhaps it’s better to say that the relative decline in dues revenues is equivalent to 7,585 active members leaving the NJEA.
In any event, we know for certain that the membership level is below 200,000, and that dues revenues are not keeping up with the increases in annual dues.