Chartered in 1974 as the Texas Federation of Teachers, the union changed it's name to Texas AFT in 2007. Texas AFT is the state affiliate of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. Our membership consists of teachers and other educational workers who have joined together to provide a strong voice for education in the community, at the state level, and at a national level. Texas AFT has grown from 23,000 members in 1993 to more than 65,000 today. Our numbers include public school teachers, paraprofessionals and school related personnel, as well as faculty members and support staff of higher education institutions. Texas AFT believes in democracy in education, and education for democracy. Texas AFT believes that an enlightened citizenry is essential to the success of democracy. Fear and bigotry flourish in the fertile soil of ignorance, and it is with fear and bigotry that dictators most often sustain their tyranny. It is axiomatic that an enlightened electorate is essential to a democratic government; it should be equally clear that an enlightened populace is a prerequisite for a democratic society. Texas AFT believes that America can only educate its students through a strong system of public schools which are funded by the public and run by the citizens through representatives who are elected democratically. We believe that those schools should offer every student an equal opportunity to learn to the best of his or her ability. We believe the only limit on educational opportunity should be the limit that an individual student places upon himself or herself. There should be no special privileges for the rich or the well-born; there should be no special burdens placed upon those born into less fortunate circumstances. Texas AFT believes that our students deserve a world-class education. Texas AFT stands for quality education for students, and dignity for those who provide it.