Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question below to view its answer

Austin Kids First Action is a local, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting great school board leaders. We believe that school board trustees are like Superheroes who have a tremendous, but under-appreciated impact on every child in our public schools. We support candidates that put the interests of kids first above all else…especially personal issue agendas and politics. Superhero trustees are those who are advocates for great public schools, well-trained teachers, effective campus administrators, and proactive district leadership. We believe the ideal school board candidate will closely examine data and promote innovative and research-backed policies that address Austin’s unique challenges work together with fellow trustees, parents, city and community leaders to lead our kids to academic success. As new challenges arise, we want great school board members who exemplify this approach and are focused on success for all of Austin’s students and schools. We believe that we align with the vast majority of the Austin community who want school board members whose policies put kids first.
You never know what critical decisions an elected official will face. For this reason, AKF focuses on the organizational and leadership skills that drive how candidates vote, not necessarily a “position” or single issue for which they stand. When we say “putting kids first” we mean that when school board candidates are presented with options, they carefully consider all sides and work with their fellow Trustees and the Superintendent to choose the option that is best for students. If it is unclear which option is best, trustees should draw from their leadership experience and should employ their critical thinking skills to examine what the data or studies suggest is best.

In other words, a good trustee comes to the board with a paradigm of listening, learning and cooperation on solutions as opposed to an approach of opposition, prevention or disruption.

No. We have no official or unofficial agreement with any of these organizations. Our members come from many various backgrounds including some with these organizations. However, Austin Kids first works completely independently of the agendas of these organizations and, in fact, advocates for an open discourse between all educational organizations with influence in the Austin area.
An “Astro-turf” organization is a pejorative term issued—usually by an opposition group—to describe some cause-based organizations who are essentially a “fake grassroots” campaign. Astro-turf organizations are usually funded from a single, out-side source with a singular issue-specific agenda.

AKF is absolutely not an astro-turf organization. Our board leadership is 100% volunteer and local. Our donors and membership is composed of teachers, concerned parents, former trustees, local business owners and school administrators—all with the common understanding that AISD needs a board that works together for the Kids rather than working separately for their own agendas.

The organizations who have called AKF an “astro-turf” do so for their own reasons, but we will not engage in petty name-calling that only serves to divide our city into factions. We exist for the exact opposite reason—to promote cooperation, innovation and consensus-building that will move AISD forward for our children.

Yes. The reality is that it is difficult for even the most well-intentioned voter to become educated on AISD school board races. In recent years, less than 5% of AISD residents voted in school board races. Some of our own members regretfully admit that they haven’t voted in past AISD races because they felt ill-informed. We intend to make it easy for Austinites to get informed on AISD issues and AISD board candidates.

Our endorsement process ensures that all our members have a say in who we endorse. Our broad membership base determines 50% of our endorsement and the Advisory Board determines the other 50%. For more information, go to our endorsements process page to see how we qualify,rank, and formally endorse AISD candidates.

Every election is a clean slate. We will re-evaluate each candidate every election. Our concern is putting kids first. If our membership and advisory board determines an incumbent candidate has failed to put kids first, we will likely not endorse that candidate. Conversely, if a trustee that our membership did not endorse proves themselves as an advocate for AISD kids, we will likely direct our efforts to ensure this candidate is supported in the future.
Currently, AKF Action does not have a full time staff. Our members work strictly on a volunteer basis.We would like to have a full-time staff in the future.
First, sign up to be a member by registering on our website and tell your friends and family to do the same.Members will help us determine candidate endorsements. Members will also be contacted about all volunteer opportunities and options for how to get involved in their neighborhood. Second, “like us” on Facebook. Third, contribute financially beyond your membership. Your money will go to help support voter outreach, voter education, and the direct financial support of great school board candidates.
Email info@ausitnkidsfirst.org and one of our members will promptly get back to you.