Lobby Day 2015: Are you in?

We are committed to halting the destruction and getting public education back on track. Are you with us? Spend the day with the Alliance during Spring Break on Monday, March 9, 2015 – join hundreds of your colleagues from around the state at the Texas Capitol for the largest rally of school employees of the legislative session. Seats are limited. Sign up by February 27, 2015. Continue reading

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Make Black History Month Exciting

Black History Month is celebrated each February in the US. The celebration originally began as a week-long event in 1925 arranged by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which wanted to celebrate African-Americans’ contributions to society. The celebrations grew in the following years and in 1976, President Ford expanded the week-long event to a month, proclaiming that he wished to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Next month, engage your students in Black History Month by using some of the popular instructional materials you can find on Share My Lesson. Have fun highlighting the historical accomplishments of black Americans and save time lesson-planning by simply tapping into our free resource bank of preK-12 lessons and classroom activities. Click here to access free lesson plans, worksheets and activities to help teachers celebrate Black History Month in their classrooms.

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State Senate Budget Draft Puts Priority on Business Tax Cuts

The Texas Senate has produced its own first draft of the state budget for 2016-2017, putting its priority on business tax cuts. Under the Senate budget bill, SB 2, as described today by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and his appointee as head of the Senate Finance Committee, Republican Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, $4 billion would be devoted to tax cuts–$1 billion in the form of reduced business franchise taxes, $3 billion in reduced property taxes. A substantial share of the latter would go to owners of commercial property. Just to sharpen the Senate’s point that tax cuts are priority number one, the SB 1 label has been reserved for the bill that would carry out the property-tax cuts. Both of these proposed tax cuts would commensurately reduce funding for public education, which according to SB 2 would be made up with $4 billion in other revenue. Continue reading

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Louis Malfaro appointed as president of Texas AFT

Louis Malfaro, who had served as the Texas American Federation of Teachers secretary-treasurer since 2010, was named president of the statewide teachers union by Texas AFT’s Executive Council in a meeting on January 24. Malfaro replaces Linda Bridges, who died on January 13. The Executive Council also approved the selection of John O’Sullivan to replace Malfaro as secretary-treasurer. O’Sullivan had served in that position before his retirement in 2010. An election for both officer positions will be held at the 2015 Texas AFT Convention in June.

Malfaro began his teaching career in Austin ISD in 1987 at Blackshear Elementary, where he taught bilingual education. The school had been designated by the district as one of 16 “priority” campuses for focusing on academic improvement. More than 95 percent of the students were low-income with a high percentage of English language learners. While he expected a “priority” school to be staffed with veteran teachers, Malfaro found himself surrounded by other beginning teachers with little to no guidance or support. Read More

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What I’ve Learned: A Career Changer Taps Into His Business Experience

Educators may spend their careers preparing lessons, but often the most memorable are those they learn themselves. With that in mind, NEA Today asked school staff – everyone from classroom teachers and bus drivers to guidance counselors and school nurses – to share the everyday lessons they’ve picked up along the way in a series called “What I’ve Learned.”

Michael Proscelle has been a teacher for 15 years at Woodlawn Hills Elementary School in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Before becoming an educator he spent nearly two decades as a retail manager for a Texas grocery chain. Read More

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AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program

This program offers four 4-year, $8,000 post-secondary scholarships to students who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members to assist with their continuing education. Applications for the 2015 Porter Scholars Program are now available through our new online system. The deadline for the AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program for high school students is March 31, 2015. The deadline for the Member Grants Program is March 31, 2015. Apply here (link is external).

Please contact PorterScholars@aft.org (link sends e-mail), if you have any questions. For more information about the Porter Scholars Program see the links below.

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