- Are you ready to roll? First step: Mark your calendars for March 11
- Why make Share My Lesson your one-stop destination for this school year?
- If disaster hits, Union Plus is there to help
- Deadline alert! Make sure you’re registered to vote for the Nov. 6 election
- Locals in Action
- Not getting our daily Legislative Hotline? Here’s what you’ve missed
- About this newsletter
Are you ready to roll? First step: Mark your calendars for March 11
Texas educators, don’t be fooled by the misleading headlines you may have read in the media saying you can’t take collective action if our state’s leadership lets the status quo of underfunded schools, underpaid educators, rising health-care premiums, and declining benefits continues. Already, the top leadership in the state is plotting a course to increase pay only for teachers whose students perform well on the STAAR test–thus increasing the misuse of testing. We’ve got a better plan, to invest in our students to make sure funding is adequate and equitable, to give school employees a much-needed bump in base pay, and to add more assistance for health-care premiums. Read more of the buzz around teacher walkouts in Texas…
- Teacher activism continues: Will Texas be next? (Texas AFT Legislative Hotline)
- Inspired by strikes across the country, many Texas teachers want action (Houston Chronicle)
- The fight continues: which states will teachers strike in next? (The Guardian)
- As teachers strike in other states, Texas teachers are also unhappy (Austin American-Statesman, video story)
Whether it’s fighting for better health-care benefits for active and retired employees, or making sure that our school children have the resources they need to succeed, now is the time for Texas educators to Speak Out! and Stand Together! to ensure that lawmakers take action in the next legislative session in January.
Here’s what you can do now…
- Register to vote now and vote in November (stay tuned for details on candidates you can count on to support public education).
- Sign our petition letting lawmakers know we won’t take “no” for an answer to our demands.
- RSVP for our Lobby Day and Rally at the state Capitol on March 11 (And RSVP for the Facebook Event!). It’s going to be a big one…Let’s plan for 10,000 strong!
- If you have a local union, get involved locally! Our local unions in Dallas and Houston, as well as locals for several other districts across the state, have been instrumental in securing pay raises for their school employees through their advocacy efforts.
Here are 10 reasons!
Whether you’re looking for classroom management techniques, free professional development, lesson plans, or just encouraging and inspirational ideas, Share My Lesson has you covered. Start by seeing 10 great ways to help your profession and your students this year.
With more than 420,000 free lesson plans, ShareMyLesson.com is the g0-to place for finding great resources for your class. Designed by teachers and for teachers, Share My Lesson includes sections from high-quality content partners, as well as lessons uploaded by state–including a large number of resources created by Texas AFT members.
Share My Lesson also includes professional development webinars (for credit) specific to your grade level, including coursework focusing on classroom management, social-emotional learning, and dozens of other topics. Many other resources also are available for support professionals and other school employees.
If disaster hits, Union Plus is there to help
As a Texas AFT member, you have access to a variety of benefits through Union Plus. And by enrolling in certain discounted offerings–like the Union Plus credit card, mortgage program, or insurance for life, auto or home–you also have access to grants for disaster relief. Just ask AFSMCE union member Demond Stanley, who used a Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant after catastrophic Hurricane Harvey to assist with damage to his Houston home.
“I love Union Plus because it’s so flexible and fast,” Stanley said. “I made the phone call and the representative put me together with all the programs I needed that would make a difference for my situation. I’ve always liked the discounts and cash back, but the disaster relief program was simply amazing.”
- Read Desmond Stanley’s story.
- Save big money on everything from prescription glasses to electronics, to rental cars and gift baskets. Check it out today at www.unionplus.org.
Deadline alert! Make sure you’re registered to vote for the Nov. 6 election
The deadline to register to vote in the November 6 election is October 9. (Read more in our recent Hotline on possible pitfalls with registration and why you need to register early.)
Here’s what you can do to make sure you are ready to vote.
- If you need to register to vote, check here for information on registering and where to get an application.
- Visit the state’s website to check your voter registration status. (It’s best to have either your voter registration card or drivers license number handy, although you can try with just your birth date and address.)
- If you do notice a designation of “suspense” or some other issue, or if you can’t locate your registration, visit the FAQ page of the Texas Secretary of State for answers to common questions, and/or call your county tax assessor collector or county registrar.
- And when you find that your residence/registration is correct, use that as opportunity to see who represents you at the state and federal levels, so that you’ll be prepared to do your homework and elect friends of public education in November.
Locals in Action
- The San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel filed a grievance against San Antonio ISD after the district allowed principals to set different work hours than those established in contracts for the year. “We believe this decision violates teachers’ contracts because the district is making a material change to teachers working conditions after teachers were already locked into contracts,” Alliance President Shelley Potter told the Rivard Report. Teachers are concerned that changes will disrupt their schedules for child care, for example.
- Alliance-AFT members helped secure a 3 percent salary increase for support staff and 2 percent increase for teachers in Dallas ISD after an active campaign highlighting the need for salary increases.
- Believe it or not, our Houston Educational Support Personnel union had to campaign to ensure that its district bus drivers could access Houston ISD schools to use the restroom–after a driver was denied entry into a middle school for a much-needed bathroom break. The union was successful in making sure all schools were aware that bus drivers should have access. Meanwhile, Cy-Fair AFT held a “Bus Buddies Day” to show appreciation for drivers in the district.
- Meetings worth attending…PSJA AFT sponsored a a Leadership Workshop in August for members to learn more about how to build a strong union and affect real change for improving our classrooms and workplaces. El Paso AFT and Socorro AFT have been busy sponsoring workshops for ways to reduce student debt, as well as trainings on “Making T-TESS Work for You” and “Beyond Classroom Management.” Northeast Houston AFT held a “Digital Tools Training” for professional development credit, along with a social hour for school employees.
- Corpus Christi AFT President Nancy Vera has been keeping members up to date on everything from new district health insurance plans to union meetings and parties with ongoing videos on the union’s facebook page.
- All local unions are getting ready for the November 6 election and working on state/local campaigns. They need your help with phone banking, mailings, block walking and more! Contact your local union or click here to volunteer.
Not getting the Legislative Hotline? Here’s what you’ve missed…
Texas AFT and TSTA are suing Education Commnissioner Mike Morath
Texas AFT publishes a daily Legislative Hotline to keep you informed about education policy, politics, union news, and events. Not on the list? Here are a couple of items you missed:
- State hears need for more revenue to sustain retiree health-care
- Two new looks at what’s hurting the teaching profession: declining salaries
- Why we’re suing the education commissioner and TEA over rules for ‘partnerships’ between charters and public school districts
- Subscribe to the Hotline
About this newsletter
Round-Up is the email newsletter from Texas AFT and is published every two weeks. You are on this list because you either subscribed, or you were added when you opted in participating in a Texas AFT action campaign. You may unsubscribe at any time with the link below, but we’d love to have you stay to hear more about our union, public education, and your profession.
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 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers.