Texas AFT: November 19, 2021: Members Save Thousands of Dollars by Writing Off Student Loan Debt; Locals in high gear with vaccination clinics; Vote in the HISD race

The hotline will take a break next week for the Thanksgiving vacation and return on December 3.

A masked man in a blue shirt with a gray cap waits for a masked woman filling a syringe with vaccine at the PSJA vaccination clinic

Local unions move up a gear with campaigns urging vaccination in free clinics

Local Texas AFT unions organized dozens of free COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics last month, and with injections allowed for students aged 5 to 12, they plan to push further most important for immunizing children.

Most clinics are staffed with union members and school district volunteers in partnership with health organizations.

Our Rio Grande Valley unions (McAllen, La Joya, Edinburg, PSJA and Brownsville) have vaccinated hundreds of students and their families over the past month, and more clinics are planned. Participants were also treated to free pizza at many clinics.

Socorro AFT in El Paso held its 11th vaccination clinic on Monday. A grant of $ 17,500 from First book also meant free books for students attending the clinic. “We know the safest way to have everyone in a classroom is to make sure every student, teacher and family member is immunized. ”Said Veronica Hernandez, President of Socorro AFT. “Our clinics are a great way to motivate the whole family to get vaccinated. ”

AFT logo, ghost image of a woman (Jeri) with text: Due to AFT's PSLF regulations, Jeri's life changed in an instant

AFT’s student loan settlement brings big results for members

After AFT settled his case During the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSFL), members began to see great results in their efforts to write off student loan debt. AFT member Jeri O’Bryan said she was able to write off $ 73,000 in loan debt with the program. “There is a huge weight that comes off my shoulders because of AFT’s work,” she said.

O’Bryan-Losse said that due to previous attempts to navigate a tedious process, many teachers and other public service employees were reluctant to try again. “You have to understand that while you may be traumatized by the process you’ve been through before, help is available now,” she said.

Houston ISD School Board Second Round Needs Your Vote!

Voters believe compensation for teachers and support staff is a key issue in upcoming Houston school board polls.

Red background with white dots and a large white circle with text: It's the most wonderful time of the year to become a 2021 voter!

The educators have the chance to support three candidates who have ALWAYS championed raising the salaries of school employees.

The best holiday gift you can give yourself this year is to vote for bosses who will respect you and support the New Year’s pay raises. We invite you to be a 2021 voter! Check out our page on upcoming school board races and be sure to vote on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Learn more about the elections here.

Take action to help fund the community schools model for campus improvement

Texas AFT is a longtime innovator and leader in the implementation of the community school model which generally supports schools in difficulty. Now we have the opportunity to see a big boost for the program.

The White House and Congress have proposed a historic funding level for full-service community schools: $ 443 million, an increase of more than 1,200% from last year. However, this funding is not yet guaranteed. This is a pivotal time for community schools, and we need to keep the momentum going. Send an online letter to your legislators and urge them to include $ 443 million for full service community schools in their Appropriation Bill!

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The bill on infrastructure is adopted, but lacks school investments

With President Joe Biden signing this week, the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill will provide funding for improving the nation’s roads, bridges, ports and a host of other much-needed projects, including including funding for rural schools. However, the price wrangling ultimately left a $ 100 billion school campus modernization proposal out of the final package. However, funding for electric school buses at $ 5 billion over five years is still included.

San Antonio residents win innovation grants for cultural program

San Antonio Alliance and Northside AFT won AFT grants third round of innovation grants.

a young boy and a young girl examine a water bottle windmill.  Text: Return, Recover, Reinvent

The grants, intended to help local unions “Return, Recover and Reinvent,” totaled $ 200,000 nationally during this round, with more than $ 1 million invested since the start of the pandemic. The Northside AFT grant will provide culturally appropriate books for all Northside ISD Title I schools and create professional development training in culturally appropriate pedagogy. The San Antonio Alliance grant will expand culturally appropriate professional development by piloting a participatory action research component for youth and engaging educators in community-based cultural projects.

Melina sitting on an office chair holding yellow roses and smiling

Local union member testifies at nationwide Capitol on funding for special education

Northside AFT’s Melina Espiritu-Azocar traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday to witness the impact of the Disability Education Act’s historic underfunding (IDEA) on students with disabilities. Espiritu-Azocar joined with several other organizations to promote “Fulfill the promise” an initiative to fully fund IDEA and ensure that all children have access to special education services.

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