'The San Diego-Tijuana border is one of the most militarized borders between two countries that are not at war," said Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He was talking to 18 U.S. teachers who participated in the first "From the World to Our Classrooms" reality tour sponsored by Rethinking Schools and Global Exchange. As he spoke, U.S. Border Patrol vehicles prowled the dirt roads parallel to the fences that separate the two countries.
In mid-February, 18 teachers from seven different states spent four days touring the Tijuana area to see how globalization and "free trade" have affected people. The teachers-who teach in classrooms from second grade through university level-spoke with labor and community activists and human rights advocates. They also visited the Border Patrol headquarters, a maquiladora (a foreign-owned Mexican factory), a workers' organizing center, a bilingual school, and a migrant shelter.
Global Exchange tour leaders provided simultaneous translation, allowing English-speaking teachers to talk directly with activists.
The purpose of the trip was to have participants learn about conditions and struggles in the border region, to provide the opportunity for teachers to share teaching ideas and curriculum resources, and to develop new curricula.
Photo: Bob Peterson
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