America's largest teacher union, the National Education Association, or NEA, has lost more than 100,000 members since 2010, and projections are that it could lose more than 300,000 full-time teachers and others by 2014.
The state government of Queensland has finally approved to push through with the closures and sale of some 13 empty TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Campuses, while another 12 are being planned to be combined the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE and the Central Queensland University.
USA Today reported that the union has called the loss "unprecedented" and that it is also losing revenue because of lost dues.
Some believe the losses could threaten the union's political influence, but its president, Dennis Van Roekel, told the paper that its small number won't diminish its strength.
"We may be a little smaller, but we won't be weaker -- we'll be stronger," he said.
The NEA, which has more than 2 million members, is having its annual meeting this week, usually well-attended by Democratic candidates.
"Obviously in Democratic politics, if they have a half-million fewer members at some point and a lot fewer dollars, there's absolutely a point when they're going to matter less than they do today -- and that's going to hurt them," Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, told the Gannett-owned paper.
Read the full article in USA Today.
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