History of ATPE

The story of the Association of Texas Professional Educators: Texas’ largest educator association

1975: Unification brings division

In 1975, the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA), then the state’s largest organization of educators, united with the National Education Association, a national teacher union. This change troubled many TSTA members concerned at the prospect of being obliged to participate in union strikes, which have a negative impact on students, communities and the public’s trust in the profession. Others felt that a labor union model simply did not properly serve or represent the concerns of a professional community of educators.
Many disillusioned TSTA members left to join the Association of Texas Educators (ATE) and Texas Professional Educators (TPE), organizations established to provide an alternative to the unified TSTA/NEA association. Both groups shared similar philosophies and similar inclusive membership criteria, serving teachers, administrators and support personnel alike. Both ATE and TPE focused on needs and goals common to all educational professionals, rather than fostering the internal divisions inherent to the labor union model.

1980: Merging for success

ATE and TPE leaders began consolidation talks in 1977, only a year after they were first chartered. Three years later, on April 1, 1980, the groups merged to create a single larger, more influential professional association—the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE).

Since that time, ATPE has grown from that modest, fledgling beginning to become Texas’ preeminent educators’ organization. ATPE has also grown to become the nation’s largest independent educators’ group, attracting a strong constituency with its inclusive and highly principled philosophy.

2001: A formal statement of values

In 2001, the ATPE Board of Directors formally adopted the 10 official tenets of ATPE, a document that summarizes this philosophical foundation. Renewed and reaffirmed in 2011, the ATPE tenets are: 
  1. Professionalism
  2. Member-owned/member-governed
  3. Right to work/oppose strikes
  4. Superior services to members
  5. All-inclusive
  6. Leadership
  7. Collaborative
  8. Issues-oriented advocacy
  9. Independent association
  10. Local control of public schools
These philosophies guide our mission, objectives and services to our members.

Today: Your Ally. Your Voice.TM

Through a strong program of protection, advocacy and resources, ATPE provides Texas public educators with the best, broadest and deepest support and highest possible economic value.

Questions? Send us a message or call the ATPE state office at (800) 777-2873.