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Experts Advance Equity in Education

by The College of Education / Oct 30, 2010

Photo of William Trent

In 2002, Champaign unit 4 schools adopted a "consent decree" to eliminate disparities between black and white students in achievement, discipline, attendance, and educational opportunities.

With the help of Professor William Trent of Educational Policy, Organization & Leadership, the school district and plaintiffs reached a settlement in July 2010 to address special education, alternative education, and additional elementary seats in targeted neighborhoods.

"Dr. Trent assisted the district and plaintiffs in developing the Collaboration and Operational Plans, and he then made school site visits to monitor the implementation of these plans," said Arthur Culver, Superintendent, Champaign Unit 4 schools. "He facilitated relationships between the district, the court monitoring team, and the plaintiffs' attorney by leading working retreats for these groups."

Trent has served as an expert witness in more than a dozen desegregation cases around the country and has played an active role in the local school district since arriving at the College of education in the early 1980s.

"We were able to secure several improvements as a result of the consent decree," Trent said, adding that the renovation of Booker T. Washington school into a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics magnet school is a significant step. It will be one of a few such elementary schools in the country featuring the STEM theme.

Culver praised the successful completion of the consent decree as a tremendous milestone, adding, "The university and our entire community can be proud and grateful for the commitment and expertise that Dr. Trent demonstrated as we completed the important work of ensuring equity and excellence for all students in Unit 4 schools."

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