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National Education Association Records-Departments

Identifier: NEA1005-RG

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the many departments of the NEA. It contains sixty series reflecting organizational bodies and their records. The sixty series are:

The American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Association of School Librarians, the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, the Association for Educational Data Systems, the American Industrial Arts Association, the American Physical Education Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Association/Department of Classroom Teachers, the Coalition of American Public Employees, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Council on International Nontheatrical Events, the Department of Audio-Visual Instruction, the Department of Business Education, the Department of Elementary School Principals, the Department of Foreign Languages, the Department of Home Economics, the Department of Lip Reading, the Department of School Nurses, the Educational Press Association, the Educational Research Service, the Elementary, Kindergarten, and Nursery School Educators, the Future Business Leaders of America, the Future Teachers of America, Government Relations, the Journalism Education Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the National Art Education Association, the National Association of Deans of Women, the National Association of Educational Secretaries, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Councils of State Education Associations, the National Coalition for Public Education, the National Commission on Safety Education, the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council of Administrative Women in Education, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Urban Education Associations, the NEA Department of Secondary Education, the National Faculty Association/National School Professors, the National Retired Teachers Association, the National School Public Relations Association, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Training Laboratories, the Overseas Education Association, Rural Education, Save Our Security, the Speech Association of America, the Student National Education Association, the United Business Education Association, the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession, the World Conference on Education, the World Federation of Education Associations, World Organization of the Teaching Profession, Training and Organization Development, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Department of Superintendence, Department of Foreign Languages, Department of Higher Education, Association of Teacher Educators, National Association of School Counselors, and the Department of Secondary Teachers.


  • 1869-1998


Conditions Governing Access

As researchers request materials, a review of the documents will take place. Staff will remove any documents with social security numbers, employee numbers or other sensitive identifying information. Any document found including this information is closed for 90 years from date of creation, or until verifiable proof of a person’s death is given. After these documents are removed the folder will be available for research. In some cases, items may be photocopied and redacted. The redacted copy will then be placed in the publicly available folder. All other materials in a folder will be freely available for immediate use and will be marked as having been reviewed by Special Collections staff. After folders have been reviewed using these procedures and the confidential materials have been removed, the restriction shall be lifted..

Biographical/Historical note

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. In 2010, the NEA had 3.2 million members and is located in Washington, D.C. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code granted in 1906.

The NEA describes itself as a professional employee organization. The mission of the National Education Association is "to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world."

The NEA is a volunteer-based organization that relies upon its members to perform much of the Association's work. The members are supported by staff at the local, state, and national levels with the stated goal of "building great public schools for every student.”

In 1857, Thomas W. Valentine, president of the New York State Teachers Association, issued a nation-wide invitation to teachers to unite in Philadelphia behind a common voice for America's growing public school system. After the meeting, the National Teachers Association (NTA) was formed with a membership of about 100. Minority educators were allowed to join at the start, but women were not allowed to join until 1866.

In 1870, the NTA merged with the American Normal School Association, the National Association of School Superintendents, and the Central College Association renaming itself the National Education Association. For the first 100 years of its existence, the NEA was controlled by administrators, and worked to further the interests of the "education profession" as a whole.

In the 1960’s, after the first passage of a collective bargaining law for public employees, the NEA adopted union activities in addition to its operations as a professional association.

The NEA merged with the American Teachers Association (ATA), formerly the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools (NATCS) in 1966.

In 1998, a proposed merger with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) failed when it was rejected by NEA's Representative Assembly. Several NEA state affiliates have merged with their AFT counterparts, effectively forming a single association.

Over the years, the NEA has been a leader in national education reform and improvement movements. It has worked to improve the education provided to American school children through lobbying and campaigning on the local and national level as well as by promoting strong teacher education programs and continuous professional assessment and development.


341 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement note

The collection is organized into roughly alphabetical series based upon the NEA’s organization. Records have been allocated largely to their offices of origin and reflect the work done within the offices, departments, divisions and units. Due to the immense size of the collection and the constraints placed upon the finding aid by the archival management system utilized by George Washington University, the collection was further divided up into parts.

Organized into 53 series: American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; American Association of School Administrators; American Association of School Librarians; American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association; American Industrial Arts Association; Association for Educational Data Systems; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Association/Department of Classroom Teachers; Coalition of American Public Employees; Council for Exceptional Children; Council on International Nontheatrical Events; Department of Audio-Visual Instruction; Department of Business Education; Department of Elementary School Principals; Department of Foreign Languages; Department of Home Economics; Department of Lip Reading; Department of School Nurses; Educational Press Association; Educational Research Service; Elementary, Kindergarten, and Nursery School Educators; Future Business Leaders of America; Future Teachers of America; Government Relations; Journalism Education Association; Music Educators National Conference; National Art Education Association; National Association of Deans of Women; National Association of Educational Secretaries; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Commission on Safety Education; National Commission on Teachers Education and Professional Standards; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; National Council for the Social Studies; National Council of Administrative Women in Education; National Council of State Education Associations; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; National Council of Urban Educations Associations; National Faculty Association/National Society of Professors; National Retired Teachers Associations; National School Public Relations Association; National Science Teachers Association; National Training Laboratories; Overseas Education Association; Rural Education; Save our Security; Spech Association of America; Student National Education Association; United Business Education Association; World Conference of Organizatuons of the Teaching Profession; World Conference on Education; World Federation of Education Associations; World Organization of the Teacher Profession.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Guide to the National Education Association-Departments records, 1869-1998
Finding aid prepared by Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

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Washington 20052 United States of America