The 1.8-million-member National Education Association (NEA) is launching its biggest effort thus far to elect senators and congressmen of their choice - and to defeat those who have not supported NEA objectives.
At a breakfast with reporters, Terry Herndon, NEA's executive director, and Ken Melley, NEA national political director, said their organization will be raising $1.5 million to help NEA-endorsed candidates in 150 targeted races this fall.
The NEA seeks to increase the number of members of Congress who support NEA positions, such as the continuance of a Department of Education, federal aid for public education, and no aid for private-parochial schools.
The NEA's political action committee counts among its successes its backing for Jimmy Carter in his race against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
An NEA survey, just released, shows that in the 1980 general election 44 percent of NEA members voted for Carter, 41 percent for Reagan, and 12 percent for Anderson.
''Our political effort this year,'' said Herndon, ''will be more intense -- and broader -- than ever before.'' ''However,'' he added, ''it naturally will be more difficult to mobilize people than in the presidential year of 1980.''