American Federation of Teachers Announces Additional $1 Million in Nationwide Funding to Go Directly to Educators, Parents and Other Groups Helping Students, Families
HOUSTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten announced the union’s second round of Powerful Partnerships Institute funding today, with $1 million going to 39 separate affiliates and organizations doing on-the-ground work to help students and families.
Before the start of the 2023-24 school year, the union will have invested nearly $2.5 million of its members’ resources into support to seed, scale and sustain transformative, integrated strategies—like community schools, experiential learning and reading instruction—that help young people succeed. The funds will go directly toward data-driven, evidence-based solutions supported by parents and educators to strengthen schools and help kids.
The $1 million in PPI support announced today is in addition to other funds announced this year—with more to come—including:
- More than $500,000 in back-to-school grants focused on addressing the challenges students face today and creating opportunities for tomorrow, tackling learning loss and loneliness, and focusing on literacy, career pathways and affordable college;
- $90,000 in support of FAST (Faculty and Students Together) Funds, which provide housing, food, healthcare and other immediate support to students on college campuses; and
- $700,000 through the AFT Innovation Fund to help schools fund wraparound services and hands-on learning, and to address systemic challenges like teacher shortages.
The support is all part of the AFT’s Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign—a campaign that rejects the culture wars and the toxic attacks against teachers and makes real solutions for kids a national priority.
This marks the second year of the PPI funding initiative, which reinforces the union’s commitment to parents and educators working in partnership, recognizing that when families are engaged in children’s education, their attendance, well-being, academic and social achievement increase.
The program targets funding to urban, suburban and rural areas, supporting affiliates and organizations doing the work on the ground to help strengthen and formalize the relationships that are critical to student success. It gives educators, parents and the entire school community more opportunities to work together on the things kids need, whether that’s schoolwork, emotional support or something even broader, like career services or nutrition assistance. For example, PPI recipients this year include:
- The Detroit Federation of Teachers, which will use its funding and PPI support to train community school staff in providing wellness, language and career services for students;
- The Hillsborough (Fla.) Classroom Teachers Association, which will use its investment to help students and families access affordable housing;
- Jefferson Parish (La.) Federation of Teachers, which will use its support to address food insecurity among students by providing meals;
- AFT Arizona, which will use its funding to tackle climate readiness in school buildings so they’re safe for student learning; and
- United Educators of San Francisco, which will use its resources to foster joyful, confident readers through book giveaways and support for reading teachers.
A full list of projects being funded, with further descriptions, interviews and other information, can be found here.
Weingarten said the funding makes a clear case for why educators and parents working together and investing money in solutions is the best recipe for students:
“We’re all about getting things done and working together with the people most invested in our kids being successful. Building connections, deepening relationships and fostering conversations requires sustained, direct support for everyone involved in education—whether that’s a parent who works two jobs and wants to help their kid develop a love of reading, an employer looking for interns to grow their workforce, a teacher who wants to expand their after-school tutoring program, or a campus administrator who wants to help students access mental health services. This work may not fit neatly into a sound bite, but it’s the everyday stuff we need more of to help our next generation access knowledge, engage with the world around them and develop the skills to be successful.
“It’s these programs—not book bans, censoring history and demonizing teachers—that will help young people succeed. As extremists try to divide Americans, attempting to destroy public schools and the opportunity that brings, we know that public schools unite us—it’s why 90 percent of parents send their children to public school. The ruthless and brutal attacks on teachers and schools are in clear contrast to the reality that educators work every day to help students get and stay on track and thrive. While we are promoting and investing in real solutions, the other side hasn’t offered a single suggestion to meet the needs of kids or families.
“We’re excited to keep funding and sustaining this work, and we look forward to seeing the results of this latest round of funding.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 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.