Racial disparities continue to be a problem in Champaign Unit 4 Schools a full decade after the District was released from accountability under a federal court agreement meant to address racial segregation in the Unit. The NAACP Champaign County Branch and the Champaign County Chapter of the ACLU of Illinois raised concerns – and called on the District to address these issues – in a letter sent to school officials. Representatives from the two groups will be present for the December 9th Board of Education meeting to further outline the concerns. 
 
The groups point to numerous areas of concerns, including a wide gap in proficiency in English language and math among White and Black students. Data provided by the Illinois State Board of Education show that in Unit 4, just 8% of Black children are proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) while 47% of White students are proficient.  In Math, just 6% of Black children achieved proficiency compared to nearly one half (49%) of White children achieved that proficiency. 
 
These racial disparities also show up in disciplinary action in Unit 4 schools. Ten years ago, when federal oversight of schools was still in place, Black students were 5.5 times more likely to be suspended than White students. This year, according to data from the Education Equity Excellence Committee, that gap has grown to 8.7 times more likely for Black students. 
 
Ten years ago, when federal oversight of Unit 4 was lifted, the then-Superintendent noted that a “diverse community requires many strategies for true inclusion, and we continue to seek community connections.” The letter makes clear that Unit 4 must recommit itself to this aspiration and finally fulfill its commitment to treating all students in a truly equitable fashion. 

Stay informed

ACLU of Illinois is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National