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Our Long Proud History of Advocacy

The National Education Association has a long, proud history of advocating for its members, America's children, and public schools

Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," it remains constant in its commitment to its original mission.

NEA has worked to expand the rights and further the interests of educational employees and to advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.

As early as 1926, NEA collaborated with the American Teachers Association (ATA)—a historically Black organization formed in 1904—on issues of educational equity.

Four decades later, the two groups joined forces in the civil rights struggle for racial desegretation, and in 1966, the ATA and NEA merged to bring new strength to their common causes.

Today, NEA is the largest employee organization in the country.

With affiliates in every state and more than 3.2 million members, it continues its long, proud tradition of advocacy and outreach through its members and affiliates, minority caucuses,  national programs, training and technical assistance, legislative initiatives, and establishing coalitions and partnerships with various entities including businesses, higher education, minority communities, progressive groups, and others.

Find out more about NEA's history here