From AP - News Headlines -

Unit 4’s New Committee to Continue Racial Equity Progress Holds 1st Meeting

A new committee assigned with creating a climate of equal opportunities for all Champaign school students held its inaugural meeting Wednesday.

The Education Equity Excellence committee was put together as part of the Unit 4 settlement of its Consent Decree for racial equity. The panel is made up of district administrators and community members --- including a bilingual teacher, the President of the local NAACP chapter and a former Unit 4 school board member, Nathaniel Banks.

Banks, who stepped down last spring, is the most recent African-American to serve on the school board. Speaking prior the meeting, Banks said the Triple-E Committee's first session would be largely about laying the groundwork for future work. He says the Champaign school district has already made strides towards greater equity in some areas, but that it's a work in progress.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't lend itself to the cycle of elections", said Banks. "So there are long-term issues that the Consent Decree was trying to address, and those issues are still there. Certainly, there's been progress, not only in closing the achievement gap, but also in looking at (programs for) Gifted and Talented (students) increasing the number of African-American students there."

Banks says the Champaign school district also needs to take a hard look at the number of minority students in special education, and discipline issues.

Triple-A Committee member and PTA Council President Nancy Hoetker says she'll be responsible for helping facilitate communications between the the committee and Unit Four's 16 campuses.

The Triple-E Committee is expected to meet at least twice per semester.

Categories: Education, Race/Ethnicity