National Education Association (NEA), organization of professional educators in the United States, with almost 2.5 million members. The NEA was founded (1850) as the National Teachers Association, changed its name in 1857, and was chartered by Congress in 1906. Its 13 standing committees and 7 divisions share an operating budget of approximately $150 million; each represents a separate area of specialized interest. Its general aim is to promote the welfare of all professional educators, including teachers, administrators, counselors, and others concerned about education. In 1998 the leadership of NEA and the American Federation of Teachers supported a merger of the two groups, but delegates to the NEA's annual meeting rejected the proposal.
See E. B. Wesley, NEA: The First Hundred Years (1957) and M. Murphy, Blackboard Unions: The AFT and the NEA, 1900–1980 (1990).