The AFT has organized paraprofessionals and school-related personnel since the early 1930s, when the first PSRP affiliate, the Education Secretaries of Chicago, was founded. Today, the AFT PSRP division sets a foundation for high-quality education by supporting meaningful professional development, promoting health and safety in the workplace, and demonstrating the importance of a strong and just work ethic in a bully-free environment. Most important is its commitment to safe and welcoming schools and colleges for students who deserve high-quality food programs; reliable school buses; clean, secure buildings; efficiently run offices; and well-trained staff.
Under the leadership of AFT President Randi Weingarten, the AFT PSRP division is embracing innovation, standing firm against reckless school closings, promoting the sensible and effective implementation of standards-based instruction, and working within the community to reclaim the promise of American education—a promise of equity, access and opportunity that can only be realized by harnessing the collective voice of the profession. Member support encompasses much of the work: Share My Lesson, with its rich and growing resource base for PSRPs; nationally recognized professional development; and assistance with school and district improvement efforts are some of these major supports.
At the same time, the AFT relies upon rank-and-file members to keep leadership connected to the challenges our public schools and colleges face
The steering body for the PSRP division is the PSRP program and policy council, which includes 34 leader members from around the country who provide guidance and advice on new programs and services for PSRP members, helping to enrich the lives of members and students alike.