September 4, 2020: Labor Day Events; RSVP for our Know Your Power event; Rapid charters school expansion needs to be stopped

You can find all news, updates and resources addressing COVID-19 here on our website.


Happy Labor Day 2020

Labor DAy LogoTexas AFT wishes all of you a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend. Remember to take a moment to reflect on the significance of the labor movement for all Americans.

Most Labor Day events this year will be held virtually. You can search for events near you at the AFL-CIO website.


Know Your Power Workshop

In uneasy and frightening times, Texas AFT understands the real concerns educators and school employees have about speaking out. But when it comes to the health and safety of our schools, your voice has never been more necessary or important.

But you’re not alone. In our #KnowYourPower panel, you’ll hear from educators who have taken stands for themselves, their colleagues, and their profession. Hear straight from Texas AFT members on how to use your power, what it can do and, yes, what the consequences might be. Our workshop will be broadcast live on our Texas AFT Facebook page.

Texas AFT COVID-19 Know Your Power Workshop
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Facebook Live

Panelists include:

  • Texas AFT President Zeph Capo
  • Dwight Harris, Retired educator
  • Daniel Santos, Houston Federation of Teachers
  • Karen Reyes, Education Austin

If you have a question, please drop it in the event comments. Union representatives will be watching for them during the event.

RSVP today to receive important updates and follow-up information from the event.

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Charter applicants come before the SBOE next week: Tell the Board to veto them!

 

Interactive map charter school expansion

Raise Your Hand Texas has produced an interactive map showing the rapid expansion of charter schools in Texas.

On Friday, September 11, the State Board of Education (SBOE) will have the opportunity to veto any or all of eight new charters, awarded by the unelected commissioner of education, which include 18 new charter school campuses. Many of the eight new charter applicants propose to locate within the boundaries of already high-performing neighborhood school districts. This does not make sense financially or academically. Also, communities have shown little interest at most applicants’ public meetings but have shown high amounts of opposition because of the harm new charters pose to existing public schools.

Yesterday, 20 public education advocacy organizations sent a joint letter to the SBOE to plead with the board to consider vetoing the approval of these eight new, unneeded, and unwanted charter schools that would exacerbate the state’s budget crisis, harm school districts, and send Texas tax dollars out of state. The groups asked that the SBOE consider the incremental cost of the applicants’ 18 new campuses—and their potential future expansions—in the context of the mounting cost of charter expansions. You can read the full letter here.

Because each student who leaves a school district to enroll in a charter school costs the state, on average, $1,150 more (the “charter school advantage”), approving this new slate of charters could cost Texas school districts an estimated $750 million in revenue and could send about $61 million Texas tax dollars to California, Florida, and New York corporations over ten years. And this would come at a time when neighborhood public schools are stretching every dollar to make up for the lack of additional state support during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Texas AFT will testify at the SBOE meeting in support of the board exercising its veto on all eight new charter applicants. Find the SBOE member for your area at this link and write to ask them to VETO all eight new charter applicants!

Interactive Charter Map
Speaking of rapid charter expansion, our friends at Raise Your Hand Texas have developed an interactive map showing the substantial expansion of charter schools throughout Texas from 1997 to 2018, culminating in the whopping $3.1 billion annual price tag for taxpayers for these unaccountable, scandal-riddled charter operators. The interactive map also allows users to see the effects of rapid charter expansion on individual school districts.

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Labor Day Appreciation Giveaway

Our member benefits partners, UnionPlus.org, has a variety of discounts and services–everything from legal help to mortgage discounts to pet insurance.

Make sure to like and follow them on Facebook to see all UnionPlus Labor Day posts, including the special Labor Day Appreciation Giveaway!

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Protect Students GraphicOn Wednesdays, we wear red!

Turn your social media channels red each Wednesday in support of educators and students. Our goal is to show our numbers across platforms and to push local leaders and elected officials to show their support too.

While we’ve seen some districts and counties delay start dates for in-person instruction and move closer to our common sense plan for safe school reopenings, there’s still work to do this back-to-school season.


 
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Texas American Federation of Teachers represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers.