Deliberating in a Democracy
Estonian DID Partner Teachers Visit Colorado

March 3-9, 2007

CELD is pleased to collaborate with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and Street Law in the international civic education exchange program with teachers and students in Estonia – Deliberating in a Democracy (DID).

DID focuses on the importance of deliberation for young people and provides students and teachers with opportunities to practice discussing controversial issues with their counterparts in Estonia.

CELD and DID Denver area project teachers recently hosted a delegation of our counterpart DID teachers from Estonia.

Five Denver area teachers will travel to Estonia, March 23-30, 2007.

On April 23 at the University of Colorado-Denver, students from participating classes in both nations will participate in a teleconference, sharing results of classroom deliberations and opinions on various controversial issues.

Estonia/Denver Partner Schools and Teachers
Perit Multer
Sulev Valdmaa
Barbara Miller

Parnu Raekula
Bibi Raid
Denver Center for
International Studies
Jennifer Portillo
Heidi Hursh
Kolga Gymnasium
Sulev Valdmaa
Heiki Varend
Northglenn High School
Suzanne deLemos
Victoria Bull
Tallinn Pelgulinna
Natalyia Gosteva
Overland High School
Eliza Hamrick
Ben Lindemann
Saku Gymnasium
Mai Kahru

Cherokee Trails High School
Cari Erickson

Rakvere Gymnasium
Eve Raja
Hinkley High School
Dan Jarvis
Corey O'Hayre

Estonian teachers visit classrooms at Denver Center for International Studies, Northglenn, Overland, Hinkley and Cherokee Trails High Schools

DID students deliberating the question, "Should our democracy sign a binding international treaty to regulate global greenhouse gas emmisions?" Students also participated in discussions about hate speech. Culture bags were shared across cultures—and provided concrete artifacts (pictures, music, symbols, and school memorabilia) for students to analyze and compare.

Observing Democracy: Visiting the Legislature

On March 7, 2007, our Estonian guests visited the Colorado State Capitol and were introduced on the House Floor by Representative Wes McKinley, "Cowboy" legislator from District 64 (southeastern Colorado).

To close their day at the State Capitol, our Estonian delegation observed a House Committee hearing on arguments for and against a proposed bill to require a breathalizer device on cars driven by citizens who have been convicted of drunk driving.

Historic Georgetown

A culture becomes more understandable when you leave the urban scene for the countryside.  Georgetown citizens provided and insights into what makes their Colorado mountain town a special place. 

Professional Development

It was interesting for Denver area teachers to hear reflections from Estonian teachers about US culture as reflected in their school visits.  One teacher noted that she teaches about immigration and diversity as part of the US historical experience.  Visits to several schools helped her to realize that these movements are still part of our experience today.   (In some of the DID schools in Denver, a majority of the students are non-white or bi-racial.) 
Participants agreed that the deliberation process cannot be taken for granted.  Denver teachers look forward to hearing Estonian views on what democracies should do about global warming.