Learn more about the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which was founded in 1916 to represent the economic, social and professional interests of classroom teachers and is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO.
Learn the history of the AFT, including the union's founding in Chicago in 1916, its affiliation with the AFL-CIO, its battles for workers and human rights and its continued work to uphold the proud traditions on which the union was created.
The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do.
Throughout this century, the AFT has been a major force for preserving and strengthening America's democratic commitment to public education and public service. Desegregating public schools, passing the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act, establishing collective bargaining for teachers and other public employees, and addressing the needs of disadvantaged children are just a few of the causes the AFT has championed.
AFT is the largest higher education union in the country, representing over 130,000 higher education faculty, professional staff and graduate employees. The AFT higher education department mission is to help our affiliates and their members prosper in the face of political, economic and technological forces challenging the most basic assumptions about the union's role on campus.
The Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) division of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, represents more than 350,000 school support staff in K-12 districts, colleges and universities. Our jobs include office employees, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, instructional paraprofessionals, food service workers, school nurses and health aides, technicians, groundskeepers, secretaries, bookkeepers, mechanics, special education assistants and hundreds of other job titles.
Real reform involves a partnership between teachers and policymakers to ensure that policy has practical application and not unintended consequences.
Thousands of teachers, educational assistants, secretaries, parents, students, and community members will protest the Public Education Department’s proposed rule on Wednesday, July 18, while PED holds a public hearing as part of the rule making process. The protest will occur outside the hearing at the Jerry Apodaca Education Building in Santa Fe
Teachers know that grading kids on a curve is unfair. Instead, we grade for mastery. There are organizations that rigorously assess mastery in teaching, such as the Golden Apple Foundation and the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which has been recognized as the gold standard in teacher evaluation for decades. The National Research Council shows that “Advanced certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an effective way to identify highly skilled teachers.”
None of the National Boards or Golden Apple measures of teacher excellence involve student test scores.
Test-driven education policies have forced educators like me to sacrifice time needed to help students learn to critically analyze content and, instead, spend our time teaching to the test. These policies have pushed creative, talented educators out of classrooms, misled parents about their children’s academic strengths and needs, and deprived children of the rich learning experiences they need in order to succeed in a 21st-century knowledge economy. And there are far too many examples of tests riddled with errors, which make them unreliable measures of student performance