UniTeach: Civic Engagement

A Peacemaking Project by Malay T.

What is the injustice we are solving?

In Illinois, public schools are largely funded by property taxes. In low-income communities, because property values are relatively low, schools are often underfunded and under-resourced. Inherently, this leads to educational disparities. Many of the problems that arise in schools and communities from being under-resourced can be solved by having a strong, civically engaged populace. That is where UniTeach comes into play. UniTeach is an organization composed of 5 individuals who met at The Obama Foundation Training Day Chicago, and have pooled together their resources and minds to bring about change. Our organization will be approaching low-income Middle-schools in order to teach students how to become civically engaged. We will be co-collaborating on an 8-week project with them that is determined by the needs of their individual communities. UniTeach will also partner two schools of different socioeconomic backgrounds together to work on the project, working to create lasting connections between the students from varying backgrounds and lifestyles. Summatively, we look to solve the injustice of educational disparities by working directly with students to engage with each other, for each other.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Educational Inequality in Chicago Schools
we will address the geographic differences in school quality which is influenced by property taxes in low-income neighborhoods
by Bringing together students from different socioeconomic backgrounds to work together on civic engagement projects


Kelsey T.
26 March 2018 20:01
Hi Malay! We're excited to hear more about your ideas to address educational inequality! I wanted to let you know about an opportunity -- if you are interested in getting some funding for materials that you need to carry out your project, you can apply for a mini-grant of up to $250.

The deadline to submit your Project Plan and Mini-Grant Application is March 31st if you want to remain eligible to apply to attend a Peace First Accelerator.

As you craft your plan, be sure to consider the feedback we gave you on your compassionate insight, and check out our project planning tools for help turning your insight into a concrete action plan: https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Then, through your dashboard you can make any changes you want to make to your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let us know if you have questions. We're looking forward to supporting your project!
Renee A.
7 March 2018 15:41
Hi! My name is Renee, and I am a member of the team here at Peace First. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some feedback on your compassionate insight. We encourage you to use this feedback as you continue to progress through your peacemaking journey. Additionally, if you apply for a mini grant, your insight will be one of the things that we consider, so you are more than welcome to use this feedback to strengthen your insight before that stage in the process.

First of all, wow! I was completely blown away reading your insight. The clarity you have around the root cause of educational inequality being linked to geographic differences and taxes is astounding. I also think the collaborative nature of your solution, the idea to bring together young people from different backgrounds to work together is great.

Something I would love to hear more about is the specifics around how you zeroed in on civic engagement as a way to address this issue. Is the idea to have projects focused on tax/education funding reform, or civic engagement more broadly?

If you have any questions, or if there is any what that myself or another member of our team may be helpful, let us know!
Fish S. Peace First Staff
1 March 2018 9:51
Malay and Team Uniteach -- just wanted to drop in to say that this is an awesome project and I'm really excited to see how we can support it. In particular, I love the focus on connecting students from across lines of difference to work on a common project, and the idea that the project will be driven by their ideas and community needs. A member of our team will be along to give feedback on your insight soon, but for now, I'm here to say THANK YOU for the incredible work you're doing, and ask HOW CAN WE HELP? :)