Skip to main content

AFT Pennsylvania Announces Back-To-School Grants from AFT to Local Unions In Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Bucks County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 28, 2023



Grant Is Part of National Union’s ‘Real Solutions for Kids and Communities’ Campaign

 PLYMOUTH MEETING—On Thursday, AFT Pennsylvania President Arthur G. Steinberg announced $55,000 in grant funds that four of its local unions—Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers Local 400, United Staff of the Day School Local 1372, Green Tree Federation of Teachers Local 4802, and Neshaminy Federation of Teachers Local 1417—have received as part of the American Federation of Teachers’ Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign to strengthen public schools by rejecting extremists’ toxic attacks in favor of innovative, scalable solutions to tackle learning loss and loneliness, and to make literacy, mental health, career pathways and affordable college national priorities.

“These grants will make meaningful improvements in the lives of our educators and the students they educate,” said AFT Pennsylvania President Arthur G. Steinberg. “From helping advocate for more community schools in Pittsburgh to providing experiential hands-on learning for students with special needs at The Day School, replacing broken furnishings in the life skills room at Green Tree School in Philadelphia to creating a food and toiletry pantry for low-income families in the Neshaminy School District, our union doesn’t just talk about making the lives of our kids better, we’re taking direct action to ensure our students have the tools necessary to learn every day.”

The AFT’s ongoing $5 million Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign is on the ground in schools and communities, directly funding programs that help kids recover and thrive. It is providing 40 back-to-school grants, totaling over $500,000, to local AFT affiliates to strengthen public schools and meet the critical needs of students and families. Some locals are using the funds to launch community events that promote the love of reading, while others are using them to stock food banks and for families facing food and housing insecurity. The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, for example, plans to use its grant to work with community groups to combat gun violence at Woodward High School, and in Louisiana, Red River United plans to use its grant to host events where students and their families connect to local trades experts and prepare for careers after school.

“While others continue their toxic, politically driven attacks against public education, we are addressing learning loss, loneliness and literacy challenges through transformative strategies that can be sustained, integrated and scaled to help children recover and thrive,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We’re dedicated to funding and supporting the real solutions, helping to build confident and passionate readers, investing in wraparound services for kids and families, and helping establish clear pathways to good jobs and affordable college. So, instead of banning books, demonizing teachers or censoring curriculum, we’re going to continue investing in our public schools and seeding, sustaining and scaling the strategies and programs we know work.”

The multifaceted campaign, which has been promoted in ads, also includes visits to schools where solutions like community schools, career and college pathways and hands-on learning are in place, showcasing the work happening successfully, along with book giveaways and extensive resources to help families and teachers with reading instruction, so kids learn to love reading and do it well. Throughout the year, the AFT will continue to make additional investments and provide grants to fund research-tested strategies that make student learning and well-being the priority. These include organizing parent-teacher nights to encourage collaboration on improving school culture and tackling student trauma; expanding training for school support staff so that they have more tools to help students who are falling behind academically; and creating more hands-on learning opportunities, like visiting local governments to learn about civic engagement and careers in public service.

AFT Pennsylvania is a union representing 36,000 educators, paraprofessionals, school staff, and state workers across 64 local unions.


Share This