Topic: Membership

Heads Up: Scholarships Available for Union Families

With the state of Texas severely cutting financial aid for college students, working families need all the help they can get to realize the dream of higher education. Under these circumstances, it is well worth your while to learn about two union scholarship programs that are now taking applications. The first one, the national 2012 Union Plus Scholarship program, offers...

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 AFT Has Advice for Policy-Makers on Testing Abuses—A “System Problem”  

The American Federation of Teachers has come out with a strong policy statement on test tampering, one of the by-products of a system of over-reliance on standardized test scores. The statement, as outlined in the following excerpts from AFT’s October 24 press release, merits the attention of educators and all concerned citizens. “With today's pressure-cooker environment in which so much...

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Impact of State Budget Cuts: Case in Point

A Public News Service radio story on “bottom-up cuts stretching school labor thin” in Texas is worth quoting in full, and not just because it features Texas AFT’s local affiliate in San Antonio ISD. Here's the story: “There's a growing labor crisis in Texas schools, as districts respond to sweeping reductions in state education aid. From Corpus to Dallas, many...

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Paraprofessionals, Have Your Say: Working With Students With Disabililties

A new question has been posted this week on the “AFT Voices” Web site, specifically directed to paraprofessionals who deal with students with disabilities. Here’s the question:  “What is the most pressing issue facing paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities?”  You can have your say by leaving a comment at this site:  http://www.aft.org/voices/singlequestion.cfm?qid=112. To see all the prior questions...

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See a Bully, Stop a Bully: Make a Difference

The American Federation of Teachers is fully committed to the fight against bullying, whether it affects schoolchildren on campus or off.  Bullying is a community issue that extends beyond the school campus and is prevalent online. AFT is partnering with educators, school leaders, parents, and community and advocacy groups to recognize, prevent, and combat bullying. Visit www.aft.org/bully to find resources...

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 Laid-off Dallas Teacher Joins President to Highlight Need for Passage of American Jobs Act to Retain Teachers, Rebuild Schools  

Kimberly Russell, a Dallas ISD social studies teacher and single mother who was laid off in May, was slated to introduce President Barack Obama at a Dallas-area event Tuesday afternoon promoting passage of the American Jobs Act. The President’s itinerary included a tour of the Children’s Laboratory School at Eastfield Community College in Mesquite and a meeting with students and...

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Sizing Up a Proposed Federal Teacher-Prep Initiative

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education out today calls for greater accountability on the part of teacher-preparation programs and for grant programs targeted to increase diversity within the teaching corps and to aid states in establishing rigorous certification systems. The American Federation of Teachers said today that the feds are right to make improvements in teacher preparation...

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Higher-Ed Accountability—Doing to Higher Ed What They’ve Done to K-12?

Some of the same folks who have helped make K-12 accountability in Texas so excessively dependent on simplistic metrics of achievement are looking to do a similar disservice to our state’s institutions of higher education. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, for example, an Austin-based right-wing think tank, has been pushing an approach to “productivity” in higher education—embraced by Gov. Rick...

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NCLB Waivers: Missed Opportunity

President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Friday morning rolled out a new program of waivers that would allow states and school districts to sidestep some of the much-criticized mandates of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (the Bush-era version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). But the waiver offer comes with new strings attached—conditions...

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Tools for Hispanic Heritage Month

The AFT Web site, www.aft.org, has a large and growing collection of materials and resources to help classrooms make the most of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15.  You’ll find links to popular tools like Colorin Colorado, the union’s joint initiative with the Reading Rockets project of PBS affiliate WETA to offer the highest-quality professional development resources for...

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U.S. Higher Education: High Quality Undercut by Disinvestment

Sometimes it seems as if the powers that be are committed to a policy of disinvestment in higher education.  Here in Texas we have just entered a new two-year budget period in which the Texas legislature and governor have eliminated 43,000 college scholarships from the main state program of college grants that are intended to make higher education affordable for...

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New Leadership Lineup at American Federation of Teachers

As of September 8, two longtime union activists and education reformers have assumed new roles in AFT's leadership. Lorretta Johnson, who has been AFT's executive vice president since 2008 and a leader of paraprofessionals and school-related personnel for decades, is the new AFT secretary-treasurer. Francine Lawrence, who recently retired after 14 years as president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers...

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