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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Connecting CFE’s Work to Brown v. Board of Education: Separate but equal has no place in the field of public education.
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

Lesson Materials (word document)

Aim:
How far have we come since Brown v. Board of Education?

Objective:
After this four day unit, students will be able to identify key ideas from two landmark court cases, Brown v. Board of Education and Plessy v. Ferguson. Using information from Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), students will assess how far we have come since schools were desegregated. Students will learn about a recent case brought by the CFE, and argue whether they are receiving a fair education.

Social Studies Standards:
Standard 1 History of the United States
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States.

Standard 5 Civics, Citizenship, and Government
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the U.S. Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

Summary: When we look at the situation with our public schools today, it is easy to recognize that some schools are much better than others. They have better facilities, more certified teachers, and more money to invest per pupil. It is important when examining any situation to consider its context – its history. By looking at America’s history of segregation, by law and by custom, we are able to understand the root of the inequity in our schools today. Just as in the past, the only way to make steps towards justice is to organize and use collective power to make change. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity is trying to do this for New York schools. If we look at Brown v. Board of Ed and how much progress we’ve made since then, we can see how important it is to keep fighting for equality in public schools.

Motivation: Are you getting a fair and equal education?

Materials: www.landmarkcases.org is a good source for obtaining information on Brown and Plessy. You will also need images from the time of segregation, specifically those of schools.

Subject Areas:
Social Studies

Grade Levels:  6-8

About the teacher:

Rebecca Rufo has been teaching in the New York City public school system for over five years. After receiving her MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, she taught English and Journalism at ACORN High School for Social Justice in Brooklyn. At ACORN, she and her students started both the school newspaper “In a Nutshell” and the school literary magazine “Off the Wall.” She believes that students’ voices have power and that these school publications helped the students raise their concerns and bring attention to vital issues in their community.
Rebecca is currently teaching 8th grade Humanities at East Side Middle School (MS 114). She has been a participant in the school leadership team and started a Model UN program with a colleague. She worked with a local theatre company to put on Shakespearean plays with her 8th graders, and last April she helped implement and run the school’s first poetry festival in collaboration with the Urban Word organization. These grade and school-wide programs have allowed the students at ESMS to use their imagination and experience the power of language.

rjrufo@yahoo.com

 

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