Education News

Leaders From US, Mexican Teacher Unions Gather In Houston

It marks the first bilateral conference between the American Federation of Teachers and Mexico’s teachers union.

Teachers from the United States and Mexico are trying to work across borders to support immigrant students, whose lives — and schooling — often crisscross borders.

“Not just to the United States but back from the United States to Mexico, and from Central America to the United States and Mexico,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

He’s among dozens of union leaders from Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico who are meeting in Houston this week with their peers from Mexico's border states. In all, about 50 union leaders are attending.

It marks the first bilateral conference between the American Federation of Teachers and Mexico's teachers union. Together, they represent more than three million educators.

Capo said that they want to collaborate on common problems related to their profession and also immigrant students, who may face deportation or who have traveled without their parents.

For example, how can teachers support students who are indigenous and speak a language other than Spanish like Yucatec Maya or Zapotec?

Angel Paulino Canul Pacab coordinates the National Association of Indigenous Education in Mexico. It’s trying to preserve more than 60 indigenous languages.

“Today what we're trying to do from this side of the border is focus on where we both have indigenous students, speakers of the different linguistic dialects, to offer this same possibility,” Canul Pacab said.

Poster for bilateral conference between American Federation of Teachers and Mexico's teachers union
About 50 union leaders from U.S. and Mexican border states are meeting in Houston this week.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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