ATF Screens Backpack Full of Cash & Speaks Truths About Charter Schools and Privatization

Last weekend, ATF hosted a community screening of the movie Backpack Full of Cash, an award winning documentary that not only uncovered privatization schemes, the de-facto segregation occurring within the charter school movement and the corruption behind high stakes testing but also placed these politically motivated anti-public education efforts into a national context of profiteers and politicians.

ATF members, PTA Presidents, elected officials and community activists filled The Guild Cinema to watch this film. Together, we held a conversation about how the battles we are fighting on a local level are actually nation-wide attacks against public education:

  • The financial starvation of our public school systems
  • The chronic, low pay for educators
  • The perpetual attack against unions
  • The teacher evaluation systems tied to high-stakes testing
  • The revolving door of educators who leave our public schools, due to in part to the de-professionalization of our profession
  • The thousands of students who are lured into charter schools and then pushed out after being told they are not a “good fit” and then sent back to our public schools


We are ready to move forward as a unified force against these and any other means of dismantling our public school systems. Are you ready to stand with us? Text the words “ATFaction” to the number 69238 to sign up for our text message Action Alerts!

ATF Members Support Strengthening ABQ as Immigrant Friendly City

From marches against gun violence to advocating for an immigrant-friendly city, our ATF members have been incredibly active this month! Check out their testimony at the City Council meeting on Resolution 18-7.


March for Our Lives, March for our Communities, March for Our Schools

On Saturday, March 24, ATF members from across the district marched in solidarity with our students against gun violence in our schools and against gun violence in our communities. The March for Our Lives rally was called for by the student survivors of the Parkland school shooting and the national response to their call to action was overwhelming.

Students from across the nation have taught us by example to hold our politicians accountable and we have a simple, 5 step lesson plan to continue their work:

  • Step 1: We will hold our elected officials accountable to us—not the National Rifle Association.
  • Step 2: if our political leaders are more accountable to the big money of the NRA than they are to their own citizens we will vote them OUT of office.
  • Step 3: We will run for office on a platform of peace, justice, and common sense gun control in every city and every state in this nation and we will win. We will mobilize and we will prove that people have more power than big money.
  • Step 4: We will continue to strongly oppose the arming of teachers and school personnel as the means to end gun violence in schools.
    • We will not militarize our schools.
    • We will not buy into the false narrative started by a weak president in bed with the NRA. Arming teachers is a distraction from the real issue of gun control in America.
  • Step 5: And if even one person supports the false idea that we should arm teachers we will reply:
    • Arm us with enough school counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussion with students about their future.
    • Arm us with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student’s and families.
    • Arm us with more days to teach and fewer days dedicated to testing.
    • Arm us with class sizes that allow us to know our students and their families well.
    • Arm us with well-funded schools and the respect we deserve.

(Watch the video of Ellen's speech at the march. Click here for a transcript.)

Students and families across the nation are plagued by gun violence, not just in our schools but also in our communities. Our families deserve peace at school and within our neighborhoods.

Join us on April 20th as we continue the fight against gun violence. April 20th is the day of the massacre at Columbine High School during which 12 students and one teacher were killed.

We invite you to wear orange on the 20th. Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 — just one week after performing at President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade in 2013. After her death, her family and friends asked us to stand up, speak out, and Wear Orange to raise awareness about gun violence.

Orange is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from harm. Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen. Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation — a hope for a future free from gun violence.

No Guns

ATF Fed Rep Council Passes Resolution Against Gun Violence in Schools

During the March Fed Rep Meeting, your union’s Fed Rep Council unanimously passed a motion to support student-led actions against gun violence in our schools on March 14 and 24. Additionally, our Fed Rep Council has agreed to organize an action against gun violence on April 20th, in conjunction with our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Network for Public Education (NPE) and the Badass Teachers (BATS).

Download the ATF Resolution here.

April 20th efforts will be led by a sub-committee of ATF Fed Reps. Details are forthcoming, so stay tuned!

March 14- National School Walkouts. Shortly after the shootings in Parkland, Florida, the Women’s March Youth Committee called for a national day of walkouts to protest gun violence in schools. From what we know, students will be organizing walkouts here in Albuquerque.

March 24- March for Our Lives. The surviving students of the Parkland shooting called for a national day of action against gun violence. There will be a national march held in Washington D.C. and satellite marches and rallies throughout the nation. The march being held in Albuquerque is student led and ATF has been invited to speak. It will be held at 10am at Tiguex Park.

April 20- Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence in Schools. AFT, NEA, the Network for Public Education (NPE) and Badass Teachers (BATS) are organizing the National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools, to be held on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting (1999).

Know Someone Interested 
in a Career in Teaching?

Something exciting is happening in our profession and your union is a part of its development!

ATF is partnering with the University of New Mexico College of Education and Albuquerque Public Schools, with support from the National Center for Teacher Residencies, to create the Albuquerque Teacher Residency Partnership (ATRP).

The Teacher Residency is a clinical practice opportunity for students seeking a New Mexico Teaching License, with the option to earn a Master’s Degree from the University of New Mexico. This unique program offers the following benefits:

  • A stipend to be used toward tuition, books, technology fees, or other expenses
  • The opportunity to complete coursework for the New Mexico Teaching License in just one year
  • Intense mentorship and support from Master Teachers and University faculty

The deadline to apply is April 6.

Visit for more information.

Nominate the Next ATF Fed Rep of the Year!

ATF Members, please click here to nominate a Federation Representative for the honor of ATF Fed Rep of the Year! It can be your school’s Fed Rep, or another excellent rep you know. The ATF Executive Council will consider all nominations and make a final determination, to be announced May 11th at our Annual Fed Rep Dinner.

Considerations of the ATF Executive Council Selection Committee:

  • Attendance at Fed Rep Council Meetings
  • Recruitment of new members
  • Participation in leadership activities
  • Contract language knowledge
  • Volunteerism/activism

*ATF Executive Council members are not eligible for Fed Rep of the Year.

ATF members received an electronic nomination form in early March. Members can submit nominations on our website ( through the Fed Rep of the Year Nomination story on our homepage, or by sending the Fed Rep Nomination form back via Interschool Mail to Marianna at “ATF Office” no later than April 2, 2018.

ATF Call for Nominations, ATF At-Large Officer Positions

2018 Call for Nominations, ATF At-Large Officers

AFT New Mexico’s Gubernatorial Tele-Town Hall

On January 31, AFT New Mexico held a Gubernatorial Tele-Town Hall that featured all five Candidates seeking office: Jeff Apodaca (D), Joe Cervantes (D), Peter DeBenedittis (D), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and Steve Pearce (R).

Before the town hall, AFT New Mexico members had the opportunity to submit their questions via a web form. With hundreds of educators on the call, candidates spent over an hour and a half answering your questions about public education and labor-specific issues, including their visions for K-12 public education, higher education, and stances on right-to-work.

After the call, members had the opportunity to leave a voicemail with their impressions of the candidates and fill out a form online. This feedback will be given to the AFT New Mexico COPE committee for their consideration during their Gubernatorial endorsement process.

We are all excited that there is less than a year until a new Governor is in the Roundhouse. We look forward to finally moving our classrooms and our profession forward without the resistance we’ve been experiencing over the last eight years.

Thanks to all of our members who participated in the call. Look out for AFT New Mexico’s Gubernatorial endorsement after the Legislative Session ends!

Highlighting Backpay

Highlighting the concerns of one of our members often leads to more information for our entire bargaining unit. That’s why we’re highlighting a recent case that we won for one of our members that resulted in us getting her $4,500 in back-pay!

Recently, a member of our union had a question about which school they should receive a differential from, since their position as choir director took place at two schools. The answer? The intent of extra-curricular differentials is additional compensation for the additional time devoted to concerts etc…Our member should receive the differential at both schools. We argued that the second school required the same number of performances as the first school, essentially doubling the after-school expectations, thus, resulting in the need for both differentials.

This is only one example of many. Know your rights. It pays…literally.

Union Activism Compels APS to Take Unprecedented Action

Last month, over 60 ATF member-educators attended the APS Board of Education meeting, speaking out about intensifying workload issues in APS. The focus of this particular "teach-in" was the new FBA/BIP process (which has gone from a few pages to over 30) and the related changes in the SAT process.

Every member of the Board expressed their support for the employees. Superintendent Reedy said, “Thank you, you’ve been heard. We’ll get together and work on this.”

After that meeting, we asked you to add your voices in an electronic petition. We received responses from over 80 sites across APS. We submitted every one of the passionate comments to the Board and the Superintendent.

This week, the Superintendent agreed to our request to form a District-level “Instruction Council” made up of APS department leaders and ATF union leaders to work on implementation planning that includes:

  • Ample time to learn about new requirements;
  • Advance time to work with the educators who will implement the changes and honestly consider their feedback about putting ideas into practice; and
  • A sincere and thorough effort to reduce former mandates and requirements.

Until that happens, we asked that all new mandates be rescinded.

Confusingly, a recent email from the APS Special Education Department to one teacher stated, “The new FBA/BIP process is best practice, NOT a requirement. So, my apologies regarding that misinformation… Again, the new form is a best practice, it is NOT a requirement.” When this information was relayed to union leaders at our recent Fed Rep Council meeting, the representatives uttered a collective gasp of astonishment, since many had already been to “mandated” training on the “mandated” changes.

At the Board meeting on Wednesday, ATF President Ellen Bernstein thanked Superintendent Reedy for this unprecedented agreement and pointed out that this is one of many issues that were expressed in the comments on the petition. She further stated, “Many questions remain. It is urgent that we clear up in writing what is, and is not, mandated as soon as possible.”

Because of the activism of our members listed below—the hundreds of additional members who contributed to the workload petition—and the leadership of ATF President Ellen Bernstein, Superintendent Reedy agreed to form a Union-District “Instructional Council.” The intent is for the council to review all current and future mandates and make joint decisions about what is implemented, how it is implemented and what unnecessary tasks should be taken off our workload. Educators know best what works for our students. We’re proud of District leadership for acknowledging this and restoring some faith in our professional judgment.

Ellen Bernstein, ATF Presiden, Dwayne Norris, Bandelier ES, Pam Irvin, Kit Carson ES,Chelsea O’Connell, John Baker ES,Loyola Cortinas, Valle Vista ES,Angela Reynolds, Diagnostician,Sara Attleson, Kennedy MS,Donna Teuteberg, Social Worker,Catherine Jaramillo, Kennedy MS,Chemain Singh, Los Padillas ES,Sonja Kortsch, Bandelier ES, Jorge Serrano, West Mesa HS,Alethea Jahn, Truman MS,Erika Foutz, Roosevelt MS,Yvonne Garcia, Social Worker,Jenn Topley, Social Worker,Robert Feuer, Highland HS,Valerie Rodgers, Social Worker,Marianna Shoberg, Van Buren MS,Kelly Gardner, Grant MS,Nadine Morales, Lavaland ES,Sean Thomas, Eldorado HS,Mary Baldwin, Highland HS,Rachel Baucom, East San Jose ES,Mary LaValley, George I. Sanchez K-8