Welcome Back-to-School 2020

We build power by increasing participation in the union movement, by winning elections and the public narrative, and by engaging members and communities. Building community inside and outside our union is about creating concentric circles of trust, forming coalitions and using campaigns as an organizing principle. And what better campaign than a collective bargaining campaign? As a union of professionals, we want what the children, families and communities we serve need.

We have prepared this online Back-to-School 2020 Toolkit to provide you and your family with the best information and benefit updates. #OurWorkIsPowerful

Message from Zeph Capo, Texas AFT President

Zeph Capo, Texas AFT President special message to members. On behalf of the 65,000 members of the Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT), we are excited to have you safely return as we begin the 2020-2021 school year. Enclosed you will find information about member benefits and material related to important topics and issues we will be working on together over the next year such as a continued safe re-opening and meeting the needs of our students via multiple formats.

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“Together, Texas public school educators working with parents, students and the community will ensure that quality public education remains the birthright of every child who sets foot in a Texas public school. By uniting our voices, we are ensuring that the promise of public education reaches every child.”

Zeph Capo, Texas AFT President
Click to view our 30 second video.
#OurWorkIsPowerful

About Our Union

We are the AFT. Founded by teachers more than a century ago, we have become a union of professionals. Although our roles are diverse, we are united by our dedication to enhancing individuals’ and communities’ well-being and to fighting for a more equitable society. We’re educators working in preK–12 classrooms, and we are college faculty, adjunct instructors, graduate employees and administrative professionals. We are school maintenance workers and food service personnel, school bus drivers and mechanics. We are all AFT.

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Reopening School Buildings SAFELY

The AFT has focused for months on what it will take to reopen schools safely, specifically, to ensure the safety and well-being of educators, students and our communities. Back in April, we issued our “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities.” It’s based on science and public health protocols as well as educator, school staff and healthcare expertise. 

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Safely Reopening America’s Schools and Communities

The AFT’s flexible blueprint for imagining a new normal for public education, public health and our society.

Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, each community is going to need support in charting a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.

Download the PDF | English | Spanish

Download Texas AFT’s 1-Pager on Reopening Schools | AFT Info Page

Download Texas AFT’s 1-Pager on FMLA & ADA Rights

AFT+ Member Benefits Guide

 As an AFT member, you belong to a community of colleagues. We understand the power of joining together— in our work, in our communities and in the marketplace. At AFT, we have our own marketplace—AFT + Member Benefits—which combines the purchasing power of AFT’s 1.7 million members with the benefit offerings of Union Plus, the AFL-CIO’s benefit arm. This gives you a rich array of discounts, services and benefits that go beyond the workplace. Many of these programs are available to family members, too. 

Download PDF | English | Spanish | AFT+ Member Benefits Page

Share My Lesson: Back-to-School Resources

As we head back to school and to a new normal this fall, join our community, Share My Lesson, where you can find and share resources and ideas on topics such as safely reopening schools, hybrid and distance learning, social emotional support, anti-racism education and more. REGISTER HERE for all new back-to-school webinars.

Share My Lesson | New Teacher Resources | Share My Lesson for Texas AFT

Professional Learning & You

As a member of the American Federation of Teachers, you have access to a variety of programs and resources designed to enhance your professional growth. This brochure highlights many of these opportunities. You can also visit aft.org/education, email edissues@aft.org(link sends e-mail) or contact your local union. By addressing the professional needs of our educator members, we are able to help them become even more successful in their careers; in their union; in the institutions in which they work; and in serving the students, families and communities they serve.

Download the PDF | Bridges Institute for Professional Development Page

Student Debt Clinics

The rising cost of higher education has led more than 45 million people in the United States to seek out student loans to finance their pursuit of higher education, borrowing over $1.6 trillion. Of these borrowers, 1 in 4 are now in distress—they’re behind on, or not able to pay, the full amount of their monthly payments, or they have gone into default. Relief is available for borrowers in distress, but student loan servicers and the U.S. Department of Education seem to confuse or misdirect borrowers as often as they help them.

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Introducing Summer: New AFT Member Benefit

Support for our members with student debt doesn’t end when they leave the debt clinic. The AFT has partnered with Summer—an online resource that helps borrowers navigate the student loan repayment landscape.

Summer’s borrower success team helps our members enroll in and manage the paperwork for income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, find other debt relief programs that are available, and tailor student loan repayment options to their individual needs.

Click to learn more about Summer

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Additional Resource Links