Press Release

AFT Back-to-School Tour ’09 Comes to Houston’s Kashmere High School

For Release: 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Contact:

John See
202/879-4458
jsee@aft.org

Houston area leaders pledge community-school collaboration, emphasize
importance of working together to help students

HOUSTON—The American Federation of Teachers Back-to-School Tour ’09 arrived in Houston today, as AFT President Randi Weingarten joined Houston-area labor and community leaders in pledging to work together to ensure neighborhood schools succeed.

The leaders signed a “Working Together” pledge at Kashmere High School before touring the school, which is seeking greater community involvement to improve lagging test scores.

“Reforms that are accomplished collaboratively with the union, the school district and community partners will have a positive and long-lasting effect on teaching and learning,” Weingarten said, adding that successful reform plans must include the “four C’s”—children, community, collaboration and curriculum.

At a news conference, Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon called the commitment from community members a “first step in building the foundation for success.” Fallon announced plans to host a meeting to bring community members together to develop a long-term plan for improving the school. “We are putting the full weight of the HFT behind the effort to raise student achievement at Kashmere and all across the city,” said Fallon.

A number of Houston-area unions representing school employees also participated in today’s event, as well as Texas AFT, Kashmere’s principal, and parents and students from the school. Other participating local unions were the Houston Federation of Teachers, Alief AFT, Cy-Fair AFT, Fort Bend Employee Federation, Brazosport Federation of Teachers, Goose Creek Education Federation, Aldine-AFT and Houston Educational Support Personnel.

Weingarten and community leaders met this morning with a member of the Texas congressional delegation, and will meet this evening for a community roundtable discussion of issues affecting local teachers, school employees and students.

The AFT tour, which kicked off in St. Louis yesterday before coming to Houston, will continue in Baltimore (Aug. 31); Portland, Ore. (Sept. 3); San Francisco (Sept. 4); Kenmore, N.Y. (Sept. 8); Boston (Sept. 9); and Philadelphia (Sept. 10).

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.