High-performing Black, Latino, and students from low-income backgrounds are not getting equal access to advanced math courses that more affluent or white students do, according to a new report from the Education Trust and Just Equations.
The report, "Opportunities Denied: High Achieving Black and Latino Students Lack Access to Advanced Math", used data from the 2009 High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS) to determine such disparities stemming from systemic bias. It also found that those who had access to those classes saw higher grades, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates.
High-achieving underserved students in these advanced math classes also had more access to math teachers with clear goals and school counselors with high standards, according to the report.
“Taking advanced math courses in high school was so important for opening up post-secondary opportunities for me in high school, but too many of my peers didn’t get those opportunities,” said report co-author Ivy Morgan, director for P-12 data and analytics at EdTrust. “Our findings and recommendations help further our understanding of how our systems have denied Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds access to advanced math courses, and ways that leaders at all levels of government can address those barriers.”
The report authors suggested that federal policymakers require states to set goals for Black and Latino students to take advanced math courses. And state lawmakers can reduce student-to-school-counselor ratios in districts with higher enrollments of Black and Latino students and implement opt-out policies for advanced classes instead.
According to projections, nearly 80% of jobs over the next decade will require STEM skills.