AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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PSRP Key Issues

Health and Safety in the Workplace

AFT members may not work in typical "industrial" settings, but they work in complex institutions where they can face numerous health and safety concerns. School support staff deal with their own hazards, based on the demands of their jobs. The AFT Health and Safety program has a variety of information and resources that can help significantly reduce work-related illness or injury and improve the work environment. Read more.

 
Building Minds, Minding Buildings

The Building Minds, Minding Buildings initiative is based on the idea that the school environment cannot be separated from the academic agenda. While high-quality teaching and a challenging curriculum are vital, so are issues related to the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of our nation's schools. As part of the initiative, the AFT has produced a series of reports that focus on crumbling school infrastructure and on green schools. Read more. 


65 Percent Solution

The "65 percent solution" is a deceptive scheme that aims to pass legislation or ballot measures in every state mandating that school districts spend 65 percent of their budgets on "classroom instruction." The top-down, one-size-fits-all 65 percent mandate would clearly hurt our schools. The AFT has resources that show how this approach would undermine local control of schools; force cuts in vital school support services proven to help kids stay healthy and learn; and ignore the varying needs of individual school districts, especially urban and rural districts. Read more.


Communicating with Parents

Communication is the exchange of information, ideas and/or feelings from one person to another. The goal of communication is understanding. Without understanding, there is no communication. The communication process consists of verbal and nonverbal communication and listening. The spoken word is self-explanatory. Communication problems between parents and school staff are more likely to occur because of nonverbal communication—how something is said rather than what is said.     English | Spanish


Work Shouldn't Hurt

All too often, we take the aches and pains of work in a school setting as "just part of the job." Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. Researchers and unions have made great strides to improve working conditions by promoting "ergonomics" as an approach to help prevent workplace injuries. Quite simply, this means designing work to meet the needs of workers rather than making workers adapt to dangerous conditions. This simple approach can prevent injuries, disabilities and job loss for thousands of school employees every year. English | Spanish


Building a Safer Workplace Through Universal Precautions

For many AFT members, the term "universal precautions" means safety on the job. Applied consistently (each time) and correctly, they are your best protection against infection from viruses, and bacteria that are blood borne (found in blood and body fluids containing blood) such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV). Read more.


Managing Student Behavior for School-Based Secretaries

School secretaries have to deal with two very different kinds of issues with student behavior: those typical, active, inquisitive (and perhaps unruly) students who move through the office in the regular course of the day; and those students who have been sent to the office for follow-up with the principal due to overly disruptive behavior. Read more.


Creating a Classroom Team

Respect and communication. That is what teachers and paraprofessionals say makes the effective classroom team. In speaking with paraprofessionals and teachers, the AFT has gathered a number of tips about how to make working together work. Read more.


Paraprofessionals and Student Achievement:
What the Research Says

According to the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals, interest in employing "teacher aides" began in the 1950s, when "two research projects were undertaken to assess the appropriateness of employing teacher aides as one way to provide teachers with more time to plan and carry out instructional activities." One notable recent research effort, the Tennessee Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project, was intended to study the effect of smaller class size on student achievement. Read more.


Managing Student Behavior on the School Bus

Discipline on school buses is the biggest problem confronting school bus drivers. You are responsible for the conduct of your students on the bus, and the school bus is an extension of the school. Therefore, you must have the support of the school principal to effectively manage behavior on your bus. Read more.


School Bus Driver CDL Endorsement
Federal Regulations for 'S' Endorsement Timeline Extension

What every school bus driver needs to know about the Commercial Driver's License. Read more.

 
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AFT Voices

How do students' physical or mental health issues (e.g., dental, eating disorders, vision, asthma) affect their academic performance?