Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Iowa State Education Association--Membership; Teachers' unions--Iowa--Membership; Labor union members--Iowa--Attitudes; Labor unions--Political activity--Iowa;


As Moe (2011) contended, “The teachers unions have tremendous influence over the nation’s schools, yet they have been poorly studied” (p. 18). The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and values of current Professional Educators of Iowa (PEI) members who either opted to join, discontinue, or bypass membership with Iowa State Education Association/National Education Association (ISEA/NEA). Specifically, this study aimed to understand the factors that influenced their membership decisions. Lastly, this study further explored the degree to which former ISEA/NEA members were aware, involved, and aligned with NEA political activities and how the political activities impacted membership choices. A mixed-methods approach proved best to meet the goals of this study. With an interest in gathering statewide perspectives about PEI members’ previous experiences related to ISEA/ NEA, two focus groups, as well as a pilot survey and cross-sectional survey were incorporated. A total of 708 Iowa educators participated in this research. The results of this study indicated there were many factors for joining ISEA/NEA, including liability protections, pressure to join, the belief that they had no choice, the belief that joining “is just something you do,” and to support local union efforts. Factors for bypassing and discontinuing ISEA/NEA membership emerged, including cost of membership, political activity, allocation of dues, preference for an alternative organization, and a focus on non-education issues. Additional findings suggested that former ISEA/NEA members were largely not aware, involved, or aligned with ISEA/NEA political activities. A new framework was introduced, entitled The Model of Decision Making. This model emerged from and best summarizes the findings and implications in this study.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Nicholas J. Pace

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xii, 436 pages)



File Format


Included in

Education Commons