When you first become a teacher in a new school you will not be under the protection of tenure. This can be an uneasy feeling so to gain support most teachers join either the NEA or the AFT. Both of these organizations work to improve the salaries and working conditions of teachers using collective bargaining.
The NEA stands for the National Education Association and is the largest professional and employee organization in the nation founded in 1857. The NEA is a political force that works to elect pro-education candidates and legislation benefitial to teachers and students. Also, as a part of the NEA you will benefit from publications such as the NEA Today, free legal services as well as training opportunities on subjects from technology to academic freedom.
The AFT has over one million members and was founded in 1916. AFT has a leadership role in education reform as it stands for the American Federation of Teachers. John Dewey was the first member of the group and emphasized that the AFT was strictly of teachers, by teachers, and for teachers. It "supported national standards for teachers, charter schools and induction programs that allowed new teachers to work with master teachers and the active recruitment of people of color into the teaching profession." Before the Supreme Court established that seperate is not equal in 1954, the AFT had already backed desegregation in schools. Freedom schools were ran for black students as the AFT continued to hold strong records for academic freedom and civil rights. AFT leaders had been sent to jail while fighting for their right to bargain collectively. AFT leaders were determain to show their nation the determaination they had to no longer allow teachers to be considered as a second-class status. During the great labor movement (the AFL-CIO) the AFT also shows the nation how the power of the union can help the voice of America's teachers be heard.
As a new teacher entering a school for the first time I can see how one may feel vulnerable without the protection of tenure or under the wing of a teacher organization. I would probably join the AFT over the NEA. I would choose to be a part of the AFT because the idea of the organization being ran exclusively of the teachers, for the teachers, and by the teachers makes me feel more secure and confident that I will be getting exactly what I seek. I would feel as though I am surrounded by a diverese group of people who are brought together to accomplish the same goals or to share ideas that would interest anyone in the organization. Also, an organization that allows for my voice to be heard as well as other supporters in the group has my vote in a heart beat.
To learn more about the AFT visit:
Tolearn more about the NEA visit: