Vol 4 Issue 2 – From the Editor

Published by DJEC on

Amending Colorado’s Constitution

Antwan Jefferson, PhD

 

 

Laws are made by people–they are neither absolute nor right. They may be best understood as signals of the times in which they are constructed. And while these times change, laws typically do not change as quickly or substantively.

At least, that’s what we learn in this issue. The Right 2 Learn Dignity Lab (R2L) has looked at the ways in which landmark US Supreme Court cases have led to education change over more than a century of public and compulsory schooling. The laws that have resulted from landmark Court decisions are apparent at all levels of education, from state constitutions to school enrollment trends. They (R2L) have been doing this work for almost two decades.

Throughout this issue, we invite you to journey with us to learn about the work of this important, albeit maybe not well-known, local advocacy group that has reached the rich perspective that the fundamental mechanism to improve educational quality for children throughout the state lingers deep in the convoluted (and dated) language of the state constitution. Reaching and activating this mechanism is a herculean task, but it is one that, according to R2L, can be achieved when we come together to raise the bar of education for all of our children; when we can commit the education enterprise to their dignity and humanity rather than to a minimum time requirement.

As an aside, as a former classroom teacher and current education professor, I find it important to consider what it is that teachers teach. For instance, it is one thing to teach content. It is an altogether different pursuit to teach students. This distinction remains a topic of debate. I consider the work of R2L as inviting each of us to consider the same type of clarity: is the fundamental purpose of educating children in Colorado to occupy them over time or is it to participate in their development while ensuring that their dignity and humanity remain central to all of their experiences in our public education system?

Welcome to our exploration of the work of the Right 2 Learn Dignity Lab. We hope that you’ll want to know more about their proposed amendment to the state constitution, and that you’ll take up the central question about the role of a child’s dignity in their education through our public schools.

Peace, antwan

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