The NAACP Champaign County Branch is in constant communication with the Champaign school district about the potential effects of changes to the district’s Schools of Choice model in the coming months.

We value the voices of all of our stakeholders in the Champaign community, so it’s important that families of color and low socioeconomic status take part in the online survey developed by the district’s consultant and the ongoing community focus groups being scheduled by Cooperative Strategies.

If you haven’t done either, there’s still time. The survey will remain open through October, and community focus groups are scheduled this week and next.

The NAACP Champaign County Branch will be monitoring the inclusiveness of the process every step of the way.

Many people of color who are living in this community should remember that a federal consent decree has been a driving force for equality and equal access to resources in Champaign schools, and led to the current Schools of Choice model.

Conversations on ways to improve the model — and close opportunity gaps between White and Black students — have been ongoing for some time now.

That’s a good thing, so long as everyone is invited to the table and asked for their input.

We want to ensure that any changes made — including much-needed improvements in the district’s transportation system — are to the benefit of all in Unit 4, especially our Black and Brown students.

Minnie Pearson is president of the NAACP Champaign County Branch.

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