This month, our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, announced grants totaling $500,000 to fund 14 projects for AFT affiliates across the country, including Texas AFT.
This latest round of grants is part of the AFT Innovation Fund’s “What Kids and Communities Need” grant program, which has committed $1.6 million in grants since the start of the pandemic. These funds are intended for projects that will help students learn, thrive, and recover from pandemic-related setbacks.
“We want every public school to be a place where parents want to send their kids, educators want to teach, and kids thrive,” said Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, in announcing the grants. “We know teachers do everything in their power to make this a reality for all kids. These grants will help them put their ideas into action; recruit and retain educators; access professional learning opportunities; and improve well-being, working conditions and workforce shortages.”
The grant funds allocated to Texas AFT will be used to create and expand an educator apprenticeship and training program to directly address Texas’ state-wide teacher shortage. The program would seek to establish a new TEA-approved certification program in Texas. The program would consist of a cohort of 10 to 15 educators, who would receive mentorship from veteran educators and retirees to provide them with better on-the-job training to improve teacher retention. Currently, 50% of new teachers hired in Texas leave within their first year.
Texas AFT’s grant proposal would cost an estimated $50,000.