UPDATE: Today marks the third day of the Denver Teacher’s Strike, as the DCTA and Denver Pubic Schools work to reach a contract agreement that provides teachers with meaningful compensation for the countless hours they dedicate to our communities. As educators ourselves, Collage Colorado stands with our teachers. We will keep families updated regarding alternate locations for classes this Friday, should the need arise. In the meantime, please show your support to our teachers by emailing Superintendent Susana Cordova, and tell her how important Denver’s educators are to you!
To the DCTA and teachers across the city and beyond: we see you, we hear you, we are with you!
Collage Colorado supports the DCTA/Denver Teachers’ Strike! As readers may know, negotiations between Denver teachers and the district regarding fair and adequate wages have reached an impasse. On Friday, January 25th, after 93% of DCTA members voted to authorize a strike, DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova petitioned the State of Colorado to block a strike for up to six months! This move would render a strike meaningless. Denver teachers responded by officially requesting that the State not step in, but we’re awaiting the decision.
We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.
Although Collage is a private entity, and despite the fact that our classes are presently hosted at a DPS school, we stand with teachers. From our mission, “We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.” That conviction goes in both directions; money should not be a factor for students or teachers! Teaching is a science and an art, and in the world today more (perhaps) than ever before, a quality education is a basic necessity for life. With it, anyone’s odds of livable pay, adequate health care, and a quality end of life go up tremendously. All that said, we may have to modify some plans depending on if the strike happens, as Collage will not cross picket lines.
After a couple months of hibernation (as we here at Collage celebrated the holidays and prepared for 2019), we’re back, and we’ve got some big things coming!
To begin with, our second Collage@Odyssey term being this week at Odyssey School of Denver! This term we’ve expanded the course by two sessions, as we dig deeper into issues of immigration, race, class, gender, and more! Collage@Odyssey provides a differentiated and grade-appropriate curriculum that can be tailored to any student’s needs, however we find that generally, the format is most accessible to students in grades 3 and above. Email Cameron or Maníge at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or to register your student.
Also, the Shop will be closing in the next few weeks. After a few-month trial run, we’ve decided that merchandise is not a direction we wish to pursue at the moment. We’ll still be producing posters and other materials for homes and classrooms, but we’re considering other avenues to make those available to you.
Finally, because Collage Colorado supports DCTA and Denver teachers, and because we refuse to cross picket lines, we may be forced to make modifications to the Collage@Odyssey syllabus and agenda. We will provide details as they are available.
Keep an eye here for more details soon. Cheers, Fam!
2019 Collage Colorado Women of Power Calendar – Now in the Facebook Shop!
Happy Black Friday! Around here we’re normally not much for the shopping insanity that comes with the day, but we *had* to introduce our 2019 Women of Power Calendar! Each page honors the powerful roles women of color embody in the world; show a fierce woman in your life that you see her strength with this calendar! $15 in our Shop. (Oh, and don’t forget, there are a few days left in our Fall for All sale! Use discount code FALL4ALL at checkout for $10 off any purchase of $40 or more!)
It’s cool outside, the leaves here in Denver, Colorado have all fallen, and kids are out of school on Thanksgiving Break. Given how cozy and quiet this season is supposed to be, it might seem like an odd time to talk about education, immigration, and human rights.
In fact, all three are tremendously important issues, and there isn’t any better time than now to talk about all three and how they intersect – not in spite of the holiday, but because of it. Let me explain.
A Little History
A lot could be said about the Thanksgiving Story, and a lot has over the years – most of it horribly untrue (warning – there is one bad word at the end of the video). The version of the story taught in schools for most parents today was at best horribly culturally insensitive; schools now do marginally better, though they often still gloss over the colonial overtones. Quaint or not, though, every version of the story has a few things in common: people whose lives were threatened in their homeland were forced to leave to find safety, and they arrived in a new place, only to discover that their new home wasn’t especially hospitable either.
Now, as we approach this Thanksgiving in the United States, another group of refugees is approaching the borders of this country. The difference, this time, is that these pilgrims are not colonizers seeking to take someone else’s home for their own, they are colleagues called by the promise of safety, opportunity, and the dignity of basic human rights – ostensibly the promise our nation makes to the world.
pilgrim noun pil·grim | \ˈpil-grəm \ Definition of pilgrim 1 : one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER
There are lots of things we could discuss when it comes to human rights – for example, what’s a right, and what’s a privilege? Does cultural heritage take priority over human rights? How do we protect them?
Nearly every nation in the world has some document that defines the rights that country protects within its borders. Similarly, the United Nations has a Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an outline for a basic quality of life and security for all people, that is theoretically supported by all the member nations. In reality, there are sometimes huge discrepancies between words and actions… and that leads us to the issue today.
human rights plural noun \ˈhyü-mən \ˈrīts Definition of human rights : rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons
One of the things we take for granted in this country is access to an education. In fact, education in the United States is compulsory, meaning that at least basic education is expected for everyone, and the legal systems here can take action to compel people to offer or receive it. Besides that, we argue about it, we spend more or less fantastical sums of money on it (mostly less, lately, but still – it’s a big industry)
Given all of that, one would assume that education was a basic human right in the United States… but it’s not!
It’s true… although education is essentially mandatory here in the USA, it is not protected in the US Bill of Rights or any other document here. And while education is the entire focus of Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as it stands the US has no intention of changing that. But education is protected here, and in fact, the United States protects education in a way many others do not: in the USA, education cannot be restricted based on immigration status.
asylee noun asy·lee | \ə-ˌsī-ˈlē \ plural asylees Definition of asylee law : someone who is seeking asylum (see ASYLUM sense 3b) or who has been granted asylum
Where Immigration and Education Meet: The Case of Plyler v. Doe
While the nation debates what other protections, services, and (upsettingly) consequences the caravans of asylees might face upon arrival, one issue that was settled long ago is that of all children among the caravans are entitled to an education once they are on US soil. How?
The Not-Quite-Right to education for all, regardless of immigration status, was established in the United States Supreme Court Case Plyler v. Doe. The case, originally brought by families in Texas whose undocumented children were being forced to attend schools other than their local public schools, and pay exorbitant and prohibitive tuition. The Supreme Court decided that this was unconstitutional, and in 1982 decided in favor of the plaintiffs (the person suing – in this case the parents).
So, whatever Trump (or any administrations) thinks of those seeking life, safety, and security by making their pilgrimage to the United States, and whatever else happens, we owe the children coming here the sanctuary of school, not the fear of imprisonment.