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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Texas tracks for equity: 'I didn't know honors existed'

California progressives are eliminating advanced math in middle school in the name of equity. In Texas, equity means expanding access to advanced math, writes Talia Richman on the Hechinger Report. In Dallas, all students with above-average math scores are placed on the honors track in sixth grade. Students who don't want the challenge must opt out.


Photo: Katerina Holmes/Pexels

Dallas nearly doubled enrollment in Algebra I in eighth grade from, 2018 to 2022, and students are far more racially diverse.


Tha Cung, an immigrant from Myanmar, had been in classes for English learners. "I didn't know 'honors' even existed," he said. His fifth-grade scores put him in advanced math in sixth grade.

The approach is going statewide: All fifth-graders who score in the top 40 percent will be in the higher track. They won't need teacher recommendations. Their parents won't have to apply.


Central Texas districts with the policy have seen "far more Black and Hispanic students complete Algebra I in eighth grade, as well as a huge jump among children who are learning English," Richman reports.


"A handful of other states have embraced opt-out or automatic enrollment policies," she writes, but Texas is "unique in its focus on sixth-grade math as a gateway for more advanced courses.

Tha Cung is now an eighth grader enrolled in Algebra I, writes Richman. “My mom told me that I could be anything,” Tha, 13, said. “So I chose engineer.”

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10 Comments


Guest
Oct 06, 2023

Progressives must love mediocrity.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Oct 05, 2023

All of my children chose engineer, and all had the mathematics to get them there, with my boys completing Algebra I in seventh grade (my daughter did it in eighth, since we were prioritizing her learning English as an immigrant, but otherwise she could have done it, as well); but our local district, Irvine Unified, which I do not generally praise, has improved upon this by introducing integrated mathematics, which One World Schools Activity offers as well, beginning in sixth grade, so that pupils are on track to complete intermediate algebra, through exponential & logarithmic functions, by the end of ninth, in our pre-baccalaureate class, which has been grouped to achieve the level ordinary in Singapore for Oxbridge.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Oct 10, 2023
Replying to

I don't think anyone knows how to divide the percentage of academic achievement due to public schools vs crammers in South Korea, other than to say that parents believe the latter to add some value, otherwise they wouldn't make those investments; the number of students dropping there is definitely lower than here, although recent governments have been guiding more youth towards vocational education, with little success.

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