Why is the NEA so powerful? NEA general counsel Bob Chanin admits its by pure political power:
Despite what some among us would like to believe [the NEA is effective] not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.
The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees. …
When all is said and done, NEA affiliates must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions. And what unions do first and foremost is represent their members.