While AP courses are a strong indicator of college readiness, the most reported and greatest indicator is completion of algebra in middle school and advanced math in high school. Dr. Rodríguez’s analysis released by IDRA
focused on calculus and found that calculus is not equally and fairly accessible in Texas public schools. Wealthier school districts have higher rates of students taking calculus. And school districts with higher proportions of students in families with low incomes have lower rates of students taking calculus.
“This new research pushes the conversation about what equitable access to college readiness really looks like,” said Celina Moreno, J.D., IDRA President & CEO. “What is good for the children of the wealthiest districts in our state must be the expectation we set for all students and that requires strong standards and state investment.”
The virtual symposium gathered education and community leaders along with a panel of experts who reflected on key themes and questions raised by the research. Panelists included Dr. Albert Cortez, retired IDRA Director of Policy and a national authority on school finance; Hon. Dr. Mary E. González, Texas State Representative and associate director for the Partnership for the Future of Learning; Lourdes Flores, executive director of ARISE Support Center that serves families in colonias in South Texas and a parent of three teens; Celina Moreno, J.D.; and Dr. Bricio Vasquez, IDRA education data scientist.
Texas ranks 40th among U.S. states with just 58% of high school graduates going directly to college in 2018. In fact, 15% of Texas high schools don’t even offer Algebra II, which used to be a required course. But HB 5 in 2013 and the subsequent actions by the Texas State Board of Education changed that. Only about half of Texas high schools offer calculus, and only 3% of high school students take the course.