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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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