Table of Contents

    Cover Story
  • Free Facing Cancer

    Social justice in biology class

    Authored By Amy Lindahl

    A high school science teacher expands her curriculum to include the impact of cancer on her students lives, and the environmental, social, and political realities of who gets sick and who gets treated.

  • Features
  • Free The Danger of a Single Story

    Writing essays about our lives

    Authored By Linda Christensen

    A master teacher responds to the endangerment of our youth with powerful essays and powerful essay writing.

  • Free From Johannesburg to Tucson

    Authored By Bill Bigelow

    The courage, determination, and political insight of Tucson students bring to mind students who battled for liberatory education in South Africa.

  • Immigration, Sports, and Resistance

    An interview with Carlos Borja

    Authored By Gilda L. Ochoa

    After Carlos Borja built an award-winning track team, he was fired for refusing to oust his assistant coach, who was undocumented.

  • Free Fracking

    In the end, we're all downstream

    Authored By Julie Treick O'neill

    A 9th-grade social studies teacher uses Gasland to help her students explore the environmental and social impact of hydraulic extraction of natural gas.

  • King Corn

    Teaching the food crisis

    Authored By Tim Swinehart

    King Corn follows an acre of corn to market and a future as ethanol, food sweeteners, and animal feed. The journey anchors a curriculum on the international food crisis and how much choice we have over what we eat.

  • Taking Teacher Quality Seriously

    A collaborative approach to teacher evaluation

    Authored By Stan Karp

    If test-based evaluation of teachers is unfair and unreliable, whats a better approach? A negotiated union/district plan in Montgomery County, Maryland, offers an alternative.

  • Professional Development

    New terrain for big business?

    Authored By Rachel Gabriel, Jessica N. Lester

    Race to the Top timelines create pressure on winning states to farm out professional development. Is online "canned" PD the wave of the future?

  • Departments Free
  • The New Misogyny

    What it means for teachers and the classrooms

  • Short Stuff
  • Sean Arce Honored—and Fired
    Fight to Defend Public Education in Philly
    Biological Weapons Training in Middle School?
  • Reviews
  • Another Alaska

    Authored By Beverly Slapin
  • Good Stuff
  • Stand for Justice

    Authored By Melissa Bollow Tempel
  • Resources
  • Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice education resources.

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Immigration, Sports, and Resistance

An interview with Carlos Borja
Immigration, Sports, and Resistance


Carlos Borja (right) and Miguel Aparicio, his assistant coach.

In the past few years, a rash of anti-immigrant legislation has pushed school officials into acting like agents of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The toll of these anti-immigrant policies on students and their families is undeniable. Yet the issue is rarely discussed in faculty meetings. Fortunately, there are educators like Carlos Borja.

Borja is a middle school math teacher and a high school cross-country coach in west Phoenixthe same poor, primarily Latina/o community he migrated to at the age of 10. As a former undocumented student who attributes his success to his teachers and his involvement in sports, he has seen the potential of sportswhen combined with caring coaching, a collective ethos, and an emphasis on educationto help students navigate the assaults they encounter as undocumented immigrants.

With his friend and fellow coach Miguel Aparicio, Borja spent eight years nurturing a group of Latino runners who earned three state championships. When ICE officials arrested Aparicio for being undocumented and Borja was fired for allowing Aparicio to coach, their students organized and fought back.

Last summer, I talked with Carlos about resilience, reaching back, and working collectively in this current period of siege against undocumented immigrants.

Gilda Ochoa: What was it like when you first migrated to Arizona?

Carlos Borja: I come from a big Hispanic family. There are 10 of usfive boys and five girls. My mom passed away when I was 4. My dad decided to come to the states, but he remarried here. So we stayed with my grandparents in Colima, Mexico. In 1983, my oldest brother brought us oldest ones to Phoenix. We were illegal at that time. He was working almost a minimum wage job trying to take care of us. Its amazing what he did.

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