Association of American Educators (AAE) is a national, non-union, non-partisan professional educators association in the United States and is the fastest-growing association of its kind. Its stated mission is to “advance the profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection.” AAE also seeks to “promote excellence in education so that [teachers] receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.” AAE is officially nonpartisan. AAE is not a union or a lobbying organization, but licensed as a 501(c)(6) professional trade association. AAE is funded by dues from thousands of members located in all fifty states and the District of Columbia and by contributions to the AAE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AAE claims to “help lead a coalition of nearly 300,000 teachers across the country who have joined a non-union teacher association.” According to its website, the AAE opposes collective bargaining, strikes, and engagement in policy issues not deemed "germane to education." The site also devotes a special section to denouncing "forced unionism" of public schoolteachers, including resources to help teachers resign union membership and nominal "Public Service Announcements" decrying teachers' unions for using "confrontational tactics" and union dues to pay for a "political agenda that has little to do with education." Based on this and other evidence, the National Education Association and other groups have criticized the organization for attempting to undermine public education (see Criticism below).