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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Why Is the CFE Situation Unjust?
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

Objective: Students will discuss why it is unjust that funding inequities exist in New York State schools and look for opportunities to make a difference.


  • Students should be sitting in a circle.
  • Ask students, “Have you ever thought something wasn’t fair? Maybe your mom let your brother or sister have a play date, but you had to stay home and help her around the house? How does it feel when something is not fair?”
  • Have students turn and tell a partner about a time when something wasn’t fair. They should tell the partner how the situation made them feel.
  • Teacher should listen and then share one or two things they heard about how unfair “feels.”

Procedure/Teaching Points

  • Teacher displays the charts made from“How Are Schools Different?” and “What Inequities Exist in New York State?
  • Ask students to look over the charts made in the lessons about how schools are different and how different schools get more or less money. Reread the charts and focus on the big points. Ask students what they notice about the differences. Then ask how students feel about the differences.
  • Makes a T chart titled “Noticings about inequalities in New York State / Feelings I have.” As students discuss these points, write down noticings and reactions. Remind them of accountable talk prompts such as, “I agree with…” and “I disagree with…” Guide responses so children see that inequities are unjust, regardless of where their school sits on the spectrum.
  • Next, remind students that as readers we sometimes feel empathetic towards a character. Discuss what empathy means. Ask if anyone feels empathetic towards other kids in the stories that were read.

Student Engagement/Activity

  • Tell students that when people in our society feel like something is not fair, it is an opportunity to think of ways to make a change. Remind students that even they, as students, have the power to make changes by taking action and also by influencing others to take action. Discuss a few ways students could change the inequalities in New York schools.
  • Send students back to their seats to work in groups. Instruct each group to think of one action that can be taken for an inequity listed on the T-chart. (If necessary, assign each group one “inequity” from the T- Chart list to work on).

Share/ Report Out

  • Each group will share the action/next step suggested to address the inequity listed on the T-chart.

Applications/ Follow-up

  • For homework, students will share with an adult family member what they learned about the funding inequities in NYS schools. Student will then interview the family member by asking the following questions:
    What do you think about this? What would you do about this?

Students will write a piece on whether they agree or disagree with the thoughts they received from the family member. Students will have to explain why they think and/or feel this way in the writing piece.

Subject Areas:
Social Justice

Grade Levels:  3-5

About the teachers:

Megan Bender is a third grade teacher at PS 58 in Brooklyn, NY where she has been teaching for one year. She entered teaching in 2000 as a cohort one New York City Teaching Fellow. She taught third grade at PS 270 in District 13 for four years. In 2002, she received her Masters in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College. Megan continues to be involved with the New York City Teaching Fellows by selecting potential candidates for the program. Previous to this, she selected for the New York Urban Teachers. At PS 58 she serves on the School Leadership Team where she helps create a school wide Comprehensive Educational Plan. In her classroom, she implements the philosophies of the social curriculum, “Responsive Classroom.” This Massachusetts based curriculum is used to help students develop better interpersonal relationships in order to help everyone bloom socially and academically in the classroom.


Sharon Chapman is a fourth year NYC Teaching Fellow. She has three years experience teaching second grade and currently teaches third grade at P.S. 136 in St. Albans, Queens. After 15 years in Corporate America with 13 years as a Human Resources Manager in several industries, she decided to fulfill her life long dream and became an educator. She holds a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, an M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a M.S. in Education from Queens College.



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