When Teachers Collective Bargain, They Raise the Bar for All of Us

Our public schools and education workforce are in crisis. Despite broad support for public schools and staff, 77% of educators considered leaving their job in 2022, up by 19% since 2020. A Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT) survey showed teachers felt forced to leave the profession due to low wages, poor working conditions, and safety concerns. Whether Black, brown or white, it costs all of us when our schools and workforce are underfunded and treated poorly.

Teachers, staff, and students know best how to overcome these challenges. Teachers’ unions, like the Texas AFT, are on the front lines working hard to ensure teacher and staff voices are heard by our state and public school leadershipYet, Gov. Abbott and the state’s most powerful elected officials are working against us — the hardworking families striving for shared prosperity in Texas. Our voices are up against the most powerful elected officials, who answer to the wealthiest corporations seeking billion-dollar tax giveaways, that pass the cost to fund public education onto working Texans like me and you.

Teachers and education workers are our family, friends, and neighbors. Texans of all backgrounds, whether from Amarillo, Houston, or McAllen, value and support our public schools, teachers, and staff. A 2022 Charles Butt Foundation poll shows that 68% of Texas parents gave their local public schools an A or B rating.

To achieve our collective vision for a fair and well-funded public education, regardless of our zip code, educators should work together with lawmakers to address their needs and standards.

History and data consistently show how unions can raise the bar for all of us. Ultimately, our working conditions for our teachers are our children’s learning conditions. It’s time for teachers to collectively bargain so we can finally achieve a public education system that works for every Texan.