While the Legislature largely ignores the struggle of Texas educators and students, our union is working to help our public schools thrive and exceed expectations. This week, at AFT’s Civil, Human, & Women’s Rights Conference in Houston, our national union’s Powerful Partnership Institute (PPI) awarded its latest round of grant funding, with the goal of offering vital assistance to AFT affiliates, parent groups, and community organizations engaged in grassroots work within local communities.
Texas AFT was among those grant recipients, along with seven of our local unions.
While the conversation in the Texas Legislature and in the governor’s office continues to focus on the defunding and destruction of public education, our union and its Powerful Partnership Institute are focused on providing and supporting real solutions for public school students, families, and employees by:
- Building capacity by ensuring that AFT affiliates have resources to push for important campaigns related to education justice, including literacy, community schools, and experiential learning. This crucial effort has, and continues to, let members expand their horizons in terms of how to teach, but also gives them the necessary skills to further themselves as teachers, while equipping their students to be agents of change.
- Providing in-person and online training for community leaders (ranging from union members to local activists) on how to organize and advocate for issues they believe in. This allows them to use their newfound knowledge and skills to have a positive impact on the communities they serve, while creating solutions that work.
- Increasing collaboration has been a central part of the PPI’s goals as it seeks to better connect small networks (city and community-wide) to larger networks (state and federal), bringing together thousands of people who share a common interest and commitment to bettering public education. Together, we work to collaborate and think through real solutions to many issues that educators are facing.
- Bringing together people from all walks of life to create effective and intersectional campaigns that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion while recognizing marginalized groups as a central part of the push for community support. By furthering and devoting time to these issues, AFT and its affiliates are using our platform to work as the support system for those related and involved in Texas public education.
PPI Grants Awarded in Texas
The PPI brings together public school employees and parents because collaboration and teamwork have enormous positive effects on student learning and the quality of their education.
With that in mind, here are the grants awarded to Texas AFT and its local unions, along with our community partners:
- Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers: Corpus Christi AFT and local partners will work to protect the teaching of honest history and availability of all books and expand the programs available for migrant and bilingual students.
- Houston Educational Support Personnel: Houston paraprofessionals and allies will recruit, train, and support new leaders to improve neighborhoods where public school staff and families live and work by expanding the availability of healthy food, increasing access to elected leaders, and boosting the voices of parents and grandparents on issues of concern.
- Houston Federation of Teachers: Houston teachers, parents, and community members will fight back against the current state takeover and organize on issues of common concern, including reducing reliance on standardized testing, supporting curriculum that teaches honest history, and winning equitable school funding.
- Socorro AFT: Socorro AFT will work with parents, students, and member-leaders in order to increase the availability of books, healthy food, and affordable and stable housing for public school families and staff.
- Aldine AFT: Aldine AFT and partners will push for competitive wages to attract and retain employees. Together, they will also address the gap in literacy skills of students in coordinated and creative ways.
- McAllen AFT: McAllen AFT will expand its community-union table, engage students, parents and other stakeholders to identify issues of common concern, and build a citywide education justice platform.
- San Antonio Alliance: The San Antonio Alliance will grow the number and talent of educators, parents, students, and community members who organize for education equity to win full funding for schools and increase parent voice on key decision-making bodies.
- Texas AFT: Our state federation will fund our collective fight against vouchers, a cost-of-living adjustment for TRS retirees, and the thriving public schools that our kids and communities deserve.