Education union leaders from the 10 U.S. and Mexico border states met in Houston, Texas this week for the first in a series of bilateral conferences to work on ways to help children and their families on either side of the border.
The “We Build Bridges, Not Walls” three-day conference follows the groundbreaking Declaration in Defense of Public Schools that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Mexican teachers union, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), signed in May.
The declaration forged a partnership to focus on the rights of children, an improved multicultural curriculum, educator professional development, support for educators who cross the border daily to teach, and to provide parents and educators with the information they need to ensure immigrant and deported children, undocumented students and unaccompanied and refugee children receive a quality public education.
AFT President Randi Weingarten and SNTE President Juan Díaz de la Torre spoke at the conference on Monday evening. The AFT and SNTE represent more than 3 million educators in the two countries and face many similar challenges.
About 50 union leaders will be attending from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the United States as well as from Mexico’s Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.