June 2023

Tackling High School Math's Equity Problem

Tackling High School Math's Equity Problem

Just Equations founder Pamela Burdman authored an op-ed in EdSource examining the roadblocks to high school math equity in California and beyond. These challenges often lead to missed college and career opportunities for underrepresented students.

High school math education has an equity problem. And it won’t be fixed without addressing two concurrent challenges:

  • Too many potential STEM students, especially Latino and Black students, are being filtered out of opportunities because of tracking and placement practices.
  • Too many students of all races are being blocked from pursuing other careers by irrelevant math hurdles.

Addressing either problem alone will alone risks exacerbating the other: A myopic focus on expanding access to STEM-preparatory courses positions precalculus and calculus as the only advanced courses available to high-school students, giving short shrift to other rigorous and meaningful preparatory options. Courses such as statistics, data science, math modeling and discrete math are excellent options for the majority of students who do not major in STEM fields. 

… At the same time, solely emphasizing the expansion of math course options ignores the indefensible racial and gender underrepresentation in calculus and the need to build a more diverse and inclusive pipeline into STEM fields.

Read the Article

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